Tuesday, 28 August 2012

15 a Day

My first Barley Wood organic vegetable box
 14 varieties of vegetable + 1 fruit
(new potatoes. shallots, green courgette, yellow courgette, nobbly courgette(?), beetroots, red peppers, green chillis, carrots, butter lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, runner beans and plums) 
Delivered to my door
Thank you Mark!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Pounds Away

A couple of weeks ago I calculated my BMI.  I suspected it would be high but I wasn't quite prepared for it to be hovering at the top end of the overweight band, threatening to spill over into the obese.

Around the same time I caught part of a Horizon programme about the beneficial effects of fasting two days in seven on one's general health. 

I've also been following the progress of two of my favourite TV chefs, the Hairy Bikers, as they attempt to lose weight without losing flavour.

The combination of these three events has prompted me to consider trying, once again, to lose some weight and increase my fitness.

I'm not one for fancy diets nor do I want to put myself through the trauma of a weekly weigh in at a slimming class.  So I turned to a method that was of some use a couple of years ago, though clearly not entirely successful(!), that is Boots Weight Loss.   

This is basically an online calorie counter with frills.  You enter your details and set a target weight.  The computer works out your daily calorie and fat intake limits and away you go.  Every day you record exactly what you eat and the programme does the maths.  You can add your favourite foods, set your portion sizes, create recipes, adjust your limits for special days, monitor your weight loss, log physical activity, access your data in a variety of formats and check your progress towards your desired goal.

There is 7 day free trial and a current offer of a 3 month subscription for £13.99 (and no, I'm not being sponsored to advertise this!)

I've initially gone for the recommended 10% weight loss which, all being well, I should reach by 3 November.

Wish me luck!  

Sunday, 26 August 2012

St Ives Summer 2012

We have just returned from a week spent in one of my favourite places in the whole wide world,
 where (in no particular order) ...

we paddled on Porthminster Beach ...

we ate breakfast overlooking Porthgwidden Beach ...

we wandered around Zennor graveyard ...

 and made our way down to the Mermaid's Cove ...

 we ate juicy burgersburgers and an excellent lemon posset at Blas Burger Works ...

and saved a fortune by putting together our own cream teas ...

we caught a magnificent sunset on an evening stroll around The Island ...

we cheated the seagulls out of an easy meal ...

we caught the open top bus to Sennen cove  for fish and chips by the sea ...

and a walk out along the sea wall ...

we visited the Alex Katz exhibition on a sunny afternoon ...

 and returned on a not so sunny one!...

we did our bit to support the local economy ...

 and we didn't let the occasional downpour dampen our spirits.

We also attended Sunday morning mass at St Ia's, putted on Porthminster Beach, walked to Carbis Bay and back, visited the Farmer's Market, ate several Cornish pasties, read a number of books, released one of them in the Tate, body boarded, walked out to Clodgy Point and fell asleep on the grass, played several games of Uno and Monty Python Fluxx, went on a Lantern Ghost Story Walk with Shanty Baba, caught crabs in the harbour, supped a pint at the Tinner's Arms ... but I don't have any photos of these!

I can't wait until next summer to return.

PS  We stayed here - another quaint cottage provided by Cornish Riviera Holidays - our twelfth - and hopefully not our last! 

Tussie Mussies

My first encounter with Tussie Mussies was in one of Sue's posts on The Quince Tree, where she explained that they are nosegays of flowers and herbs specially chosen for their meaning in the language of flowers, traditionally used to send messages.  They can be traced back to medieval and Tudor times and were also thought to hide unpleasant odours and protect against disease.

The next time I came across them was at the American Museum in Britain where they are aseembled daily for sale to visitors.

I find them quite delightful and only wish I had a garden large or productive enough to make my own.

Made Me Smile

This automaton, above all the others in the Robert Race exhibition in Bath, brought a smile to my face, because it reminded me of my Dad.

Barley Wood

A couple of weeks ago I visited Barley Wood with the Malago WI.  You can read all about it here.  During the course of our conversation with the gardener, Mark Cox, he mentioned that he welcomed volunteers to help out with tending the plots.  Now my elder daughter has spent a good deal of her university summer holidays WWOOFing all over the country and was very interested in the possibility of spending a day working in a walled garden and picking up tips to take back to Glasgow where she hopes to become involved in a local community garden.

So the week before last we caught the bus from just round the corner and traveled out to Wrington.  Mark welcomed us warmly and, passing up on his offer of a cuppa, we got straight to work uprooting blighted potato haulms which Mark carted away to be burned.  After a short tea break we were set to harvest two crates of beans for the following day's vegetable boxes.

We'd brought our own picnic lunch but Mark insisted on making us a cheese sandwich with locally produced cheese and a salad of freshly harvested onions, tomatoes and cucumber. Mark is an interesting person to talk to, a mine of information on growing all manner of fruit and vegetables, yet anxious to hear about our limited experience of gardening. 

After lunch we planted four rows of salads and finished the day's work by loading the truck up with dead vegetation destined for the compost heap.

Mark not only insisted on giving us a lift home but also on making up a vegetable box for us to take with us.

It was an altogether enjoyable day, even allowing for the fact that I woke up the next morning feeling every muscle in my body!

Up, Up and Away (or maybe not this year!)

I think it safe to say that, on the balloon front at any rate, this was not the best fiesta.

We set off in plenty of time to bag ourselves a good spot on the slope overlooking the arena, only to be informed on our arrival, that due to adverse weather conditions, there would be no mass ascent that evening.  In previous years a selection of balloons have at least been inflated, if not lifted, but unfortunately even this would not be possible.

I was glad I had made a bit of an effort with the picnic (sticky chipolatas, feta and olives, roasted tomatoes with couscous and bacon and potato salads).  That and pack of Monty Python Fluxx cards kept us going until the Balloon Glow in the evening, which was alright, but not as entertaining as in previous years.

The following morning, after many years of baulking at the early rise, we decided to venture up the hill for the sunrise ascent.  The weather forecast was pretty unpromising but there was nothing on the website to indicate that the event had been cancelled, so we decided to risk it and set off in hope even if not in expectation.

Once again we were disappointed.  However I was relieved to see that we weren't the only ones, and the vendors of hot drinks and bacon butties were doing a reasonable trade.  I was tempted but resisted until we had taken the scenic route over Brunel's Suspension bridge and down through Clifton and Hotwells to the Lockside, which had opened early and where we enjoyed a hearty cooked breakfast.

So balloons 5/10, catering 10/10.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Valley of Angels

Yesterday we visited Arnos Vale Cemetery, where the first burial took place in 1839.  It fell into disrepair, but after running up in the BBC Restoration programme and winning £4.8 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the future's looking brighter.

Raja Rammohan Roy's Chattri
He was a Bengali reformer who died in Bristol in 1833

Military graves
I like the fact that no matter what their rank all servicemen are given the same size of headstone

The Atrium cafe  which serves yummy cakes
We had to take cover in a sudden heavy downpour

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Weekend in Pictures

Saturday morning breakfast at the newly opened Mud Dock Deli

A visit to the Urban Sport exhibition at M Shed

Watching the Olympic rowing finals on the big screen in Millennium Square

My first Bollywood DVD and an Indian feast including my favourite Indian dessert of carrot halva.

Trying out my new running shoes on Sunday morning

Cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches and Aldi's take on Pimms for the Olympic Men's Tennis Finals