Thursday 31 May 2012

A gift......

Morning AJ, a fellow blogger,  takes part in a weekly creativity challenge called Every Inchie Monday,  where she and others create one square inch of art, with anything they have to hand, using the Inchie Word Of The Week.    I do so admire her, creating a piece of art only an inch square is no mean feat, do go over and have a look at her work here it's amazing.

Recently she was having a giveaway and asked what people would like.  I said I would love one of her Inchie pieces and guess what?   She has very kindly made not ONE but THREE pieces especially for me!

Here they are


If you click on the picture above it should enlarge it so you can see just how intricate the inchies are.  They're absolutely beautiful and I shall be looking for a suitable small frame to display them.

Thankyou so much AJ I shall treasure them.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Severn Valley Part 3......

Our last day of this trip consisted of a visit to R.A.F. Cosford.  RAF Cosford is home to a variety of units, the principal ones being: the HQ Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering; the No 1 School of Technical Training; the No 1 Radio School; the Defence School of Photography; the RAF School of PT; and the University of Birmingham Air Squadron and they have a superb collection of over 70 aircraft displayed in three wartime hangars around the airfield.

We took lots of photos here which I've put into a slide show.

From Cosford we continued our journey to Ironbridge Gorge. Originally called the Severn Gorge, the gorge now takes its name from its famous Iron Bridge, the first iron bridge of its kind in the world, and a momument to the industry that began there.

The bridge was built in 1779 to link the industrial town of Broseley with the smaller mining town of Madeley and the growing industrial centre of Coalbrookdale.  There are two reasons the site was so useful to the early industrialists.  The raw materials, coal, iron ore, limestone and clay, for the manufacture of iron, tiles and procelain are exposed or easily mined in the gorge and the deep and wide river allowed easy transport of the products to the sea.

Our next stop was Blists Hill.   Blists Hill is an authentic reconstructed Victorian working town, complete with shops, a bank and a public house. Nestling at the bottom of the town, overlooking the Green and its traditional fun fair, the Forest Glen Refreshment Pavilion is an exquisite Victorian Tea Room.  Blists Hill is staffed by knowledgeable demonstrators who are delighted to explain the role their exhibit played in a Victorian community.   One of the first  buildings you come across at Blists Hill is the Bank where you can change your modern money for Victorian token coins to spend in the shops.  As you leave you can exchange any remaining coins at the Bank or keep them as souvenirs. Some aspects of the town are original to the site, such as the Blast Furnaces and the Brick and Tile Works, other buildings have been relocated brick by  brick mainly from the locality or have been newly built using detailed research and carefully sourced materials.  

We had a delicious meal in the licenced tea room before exploring the quaint surroundings.


All too soon our visit was over and it was time to make our way back to the car park to join our coach for the journey back to the hotel for dinner.    The following morning we started the journey home after a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

I hope you enjoyed our Severn Valley trip as much as we did.

Monday 28 May 2012

Succinctly Yours - A Microfiction Meme #52

Grandma at Grandma's Goulash provides a picture and a word prompt for this Microfiction Meme and the rules are use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words.

Want more challenge? Use the word of the week in your story. This part is optional.

This week's word is PRIVILEGE here's the picture and my offering, using the picture and word of the week  in 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation.

The residents of the nursing home were privileged, so visitors were led to believe, but then no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Wednesday 23 May 2012


A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose, still heavily sedated from a difficult four hour surgical procedure.
A young student nurse appears to give him a partial sponge bath.
Nurse,' he mumbles, from behind the mask   'Are my testicles black?'
Embarrassed, the young nurse replies I don't know, Sir, I'm only here to wash your upper body.'
He struggles to ask again, 'Nurse, are my testiclesblack?'
Concerned that he may elevate his vitals from worry about his testicles, she overcomes her embarrassment and sheepishly pulls back the covers.
She raises his gown, holds his penis in one hand and his testicles in the other,lifting and moving them around and around gently.
Then, she takes a close look and says,'No sir, they aren't and I assure you, there's nothing wrong with them, Sir !!'
The man pulls off his oxygen mask,smiles at her and says very slowly,'Thank you very much. That was  wonderful, but listen very, very closely.....
' A r e - m y - t e s t - r e s u l t s -b a c k?

A bit risque but funny don't you think? 

Monday 21 May 2012

Succinctly Yours - A Microfiction Meme #51

Grandma at Grandma's Goulash provides a picture and a word prompt for this Microfiction Meme and the rules are use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words.

Want more challenge? Use the word of the week in your story. This part is optional.

This week's word is COLLIDE here's the picture and my offering, using the picture and word of the week  in 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation.

Collide,the ginger kitten,was about to get the biggest fright of his young life,
when his claws punctured the ball he was playing with, 

Sunday 13 May 2012


Off on a jaunt tomorrow until Friday,  to Torquay.

Be good whilst I'm away.

Monday 7 May 2012

Severn Valley Day Two......

Day two of our trip found us heading to Bridgnorth to the Severn Valley Railway to board a steam train for the 16 mile trip to Kidderminster.  Bridgnorth is a lovely little station with it's own pub

 and it even has a station cat called Puddles.

Of course MWM, being a steam train fanatic, took lots of photos of the engines at the station but I'll just show you a few.

The train journey was very pleasant along the banks of the River Severn and, as we had a coach allocated to our party, it gave us the chance to get to know some of our fellow travellers.

When we arrived in Kidderminster we had about an hour there to get something to eat and explore.  We chose a lovely pub called The Swan, where we had a very nice sandwich and a pint of local ale, then had a quick look round before heading back to the coach for our next excursion.

 The Swan, Kidderminster

inside The Swan, Kidderminster

 Kidderminster Town Hall is a lovely building and was right opposite The Swan.

Our next stop, after lunch, was to the Red House Glass Cone at Stourbridge, where the famous Stuart Crystal was made.   In the heart of the glass making industry, the 18th century Cone was used for the making of glass until 1936.  Reaching 100 feet into the sky it is one of only four remaining in the country.  A brick making factory was built specifically to make the bricks to build the cone.  It is now a heritage site with exhibitions, live glassmaking and craft studios and there are fine examples of Stuart Crystal, past and present, in the museum.

This is the view of the top of the cone from inside.

Inside the Cone

Some of the items made there

Glass Curtains

We also watched a demonstration of Glass Blowing shown on the short video below, look out for the popcorn at the end.


We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Glass Cone and would have loved to have spent more time there but unfortunately our coach was waiting to take us back to the hotel for dinner.

I hope you enjoyed todays excursions and will join me next time for the RAF Museum at Cosford and Blist's Hill Victorian Town.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Pendle Witches....

Last week we had a coach trip booked which involved lunch, shopping, afternoon tea and even more exciting a tour of Pendle Witch country, an absolute must as it being the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials.

We joined the coach which took us to Boundary Mill in Colne, Lancashire

a huge store on two floors where they sell branded goods up to 70% cheaper and a haven for shoppers.  We had an hour to look round before making our way across the huge car park to Banny's Restaurant for our included lunch of fish, chips, bread and butter and a pot of tea, which was delicious.

After lunch the coach picked us and a guide up to take us on the Pendle Witch Tour.  The Lancashire Witch Trials, when 20 people, of whom sixteen were women, took took place at Lancaster assizes in the autumn of 1612. No fewer than ten of these unfortunate people were found guilty at Lancaster, and hung altogether, witches were not burned in England.     Eight others were acquitted; why, it is not easy to see, for the evidence appears to have been equally strong, or rather equally weak and absurd, against all. 

The trials were unusual for England at that time in two respects: the official publication of the proceedings by the clerk to the court, Thomas Potts, in his The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, and in the number of witches hanged together: ten at Lancaster and one at York. It has been estimated that all of the English witch trials between the early 15th and early 18th centuries resulted in fewer than 500 executions, so this series of trials during the summer of 1612 accounts for more than 2 per cent of that total.

Six of the Pendle witches came from one of two families, each headed by a female in her eighties at the time of the trials: Elizabeth Southerns (aka Demdike) , her daughter Elizabeth Device, and her grandchildren James and Alizon Device; Anne Whittle (aka Chattox), and her daughter Anne Redferne. The others accused were Jane Bulcock and her son John Bulcock, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Gray, and Jennet Preston. The outbreaks of witchcraft in and around Pendle may demonstrate the extent to which people could make a living by posing as witches. Many of the allegations resulted from accusations that members of the Demdike and Chattox families made against each other, perhaps because they were in competition, both trying to make a living from healing, begging, and extortion.

Pendle Hill dominates the skyline, a foreboding place even on a bright day,

Pendle Hill

 Village of Pendleton

but the surrounding countryside is quite beautiful.

The last person to be tried under the Witchcraft Act of 1735 was Medium Helen Duncan in 1944.  She had come to the attention of the authorities after the spirit of a sailor reportedly appeared at one of her seances announcing that he had just gone down on a vessel called the Barham.   HMS 'Barham' was not officially declared lost until several months later, its sinking having been kept secret to mislead the enemy and protect  morale. One of her seances was interrupted by a police raid during which she and three memebers of her audience were arrested.  Duncan was remanded in custody by Portsmouth magistrates.  She was originally charged under section 4 of the Vagrancy Act (1824), under which most charges related to fortune-telling, astrology and spiritualism were prosecuted by magistrates in the 20th centruy.  This was considered a relatively petty charge and usually resulted in a fine if proved.  She was eventually tried by jury at the Old Bailey for contravening section 4 of the Witchcraft Act of 1835, which carried the heavier potential penalty of a prison sentence.

Duncan was found guilty as charged under the Witchcraft Act and sentenced to nine months in Holloway Prison, London.   She was the last person in Britain to be jailed under the act, which was repealed in 1951 and replaced with the Fraudulent Mediums Act, following a campaign by spiritualist and member of Parliament Thomas Brooks.
It has often been suggested that the reason for Duncan's imprisonmenet was the authorities' fear that details of the imminent D-Day landings might be revealed, and given the revelation about the Barham it is clear to see why the Duncan might be considered a potential risk.  Nonetheless, then Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote to the home secretary branding the charge 'obselete tomfoolery'.
Helen Duncan was released from prison on 22nd September 1944 and seems to have avoided further trouble until November 1956 when the police raided a private seance in Nottingham where they grabbed the presiding medium, Duncan,  strip searched her and took endless flashlight photographs. They shouted at her that they were looking for beards, masks and shrouds. But they found nothing.  In their ignorance the police had committed the worst possible sin of physical phenomena; that a medium in trance must NEVER, ever be touched. As the Spirit World's teachers have patiently explained so many times when this happens the ectoplasm returns to the medium's body far too quickly and can cause immense - sometimes even fatal - damage.

And so it was in this case. A doctor was summoned and discovered two second degree burns across Helen's stomach. She was so ill that she was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.   Helen Duncan died five weeks later on 6th December 1956.  There is an ongoing campaign to secure a pardon for Helen.

During the tour we also stopped at Sawley Abbey long enough to take a few photos.

The Cistercian Monastery was founded in January 1147 by monks from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland.  Although never particularly wealthy, the Abbey survived for almost 400 years until its Dissolution in 1536 by Henry VIII. 

We also passed an interesting pub.

At the end of a fascinating tour we returned to Boundary Mill where we had two hours to shop to our heart's content.   MWM went to the cafe for a cup of coffee and read his Kindle until I joined him after 90 minutes, during which I bought two pairs of Clarks shoes at half price.  We had a lovely cup of coffee and a fresh cream scone, which was included in the price of the excursion, before boarding the coach for the journey home.

We really enjoyed the day - me for the shopping and both of us for the tour, the lunch and the afternoon tea treat.