Tag Archives: darwen

You look like you’ve seen a giant chocolate biscuit

Oooooooooh. There was a bit of excitement at  a town near us during the summer.

The chef Heston Blumenthal came to give the entire town a tea break. If you don’t know about Heston then click here for all you need to know. Ah yes, Heston’s fantastical food, along with an entourage of  rather scary tea ladies, a pack of biscuits so big it had to be helicoptered in, a tea bag 5000 times larger than your average tea bag and a giant teapot to brew up in, all descended Darwen for a tea party.

Of course he didn’t just do it all for fun. It was all being recorded to be shown on tv during the long winter evenings. The winter evening in question was last week.

Len, Lashes and Munki all went down to join the party. Well, bugger me if they didn’t end up on the telly!

Munki didn’t look totally impressed, unlike Len.  Isn’t his face a picture? I had to keep playing it over and over again, it made me laugh for ages. He looks like he’s just seen a man eating  a giant chocolate biscuit.

Oooh, the winter evenings will just fly by with gems like this to keep us amused!


Our nineteen year old cat seems to have gone a  bit senile. we know she’s a bit blind and a bit deaf and more than a bit unsteady on her pins but now she  thinks she’s a dog. Boofuls’ dog to be exact.

I don’t know if she’s been watching Mrs Woofy follow me round the house and likes the idea or if she really thinks she’s a dog but Boofuls can’t move without her trotting at his heels these days.

She even sits in front of him while he’s eating hoping for a little titbit, just like Mrs Woofy does when she’s here. You know how they do, trying to look nonchalant but secretly peeping sideways out of one eye looking for any sign of goodies coming their way.

Look, she’s even licking her lips.

Tasty Treat

Nonchalant my ars……er……eye.

Munki and me spent a delightful afternoon together yesterday with no sign of the tantrums or power games that have been going on for the last few weeks (hers, not mine).

We sang, finger painted, shared lunch and generally enjoyed being in each others company.

Finger paintingShe was a busy girl, as you can see.

Finger painting 2At one point she left her painting to ‘wash her hands’ that quaint euphemism for going for a wee.  On her way to the bathroom (My God! That makes the place sound like a veritable mansion.) she spotted the cat, curled up in a corner and fast asleep.

She sneaked up to the cat and bent down next to her. That’s notable on it’s own as that’s something she’s have never got away with a few years ago. This cat has a built in childometer and  can usually sense the  imminent  presence of a child at a distance of half a mile or more and make an appropriately quick exit,  not to be seen again till the coast is clear. Friendly this cat is not.

Munki bent down next to  the still slumbering cat and  gently bent her head down to the level of cat’s head. I thought she was going to give her a gentle cuddle so I let her continue.

Oh no, Munki had other ideas.  She  shouted BOO! at the top of her voice and believe me, this kid’s LOUD.

The poor cat shot straight  into the air. I almost had to detach her from the ceiling.

I tried my best to keep from laughing and wipe the smile off my face while I explained to Munki that that wasn’t funny and she really shouldn’t do that to the cat but it was hard.

I think the cat must have used up at least three more of her lives during that episode. No wonder she doesn’t like kids. Poor thing.

Gembolina and me went for a walk in the woods today with Mrs Woofy. As normal I was distracted along the way by the lovely sights that cried out to be photographed.

Bridge and ButtercupFlower Since we had that bad storm last year which blew down dozens of trees the council have obviously commissioned someone to carve figures of woodland animals into the stumps. It’s a really nice idea and I enjoy seeing them as we walk but this one just makes me laugh. It look just like a badger with a bad back. I can just imagine it saying, “Ee, my lumbago’s giving me jip today.”

Ee. Me back's killin' me

Then just round the corner we came across this very devilish uprooted tree.

Scared the bejaysus out of me, it did.

Scary tree roots

That badger’s reminded of of old Fred, Lancashire born and bred.

His wife died a few years back and he decided he wanted a nice headstone for her.

His instructions to the stonemason were very clear.

“I want ‘She were thine’  written o’ th ‘eadstone.”

After a couple of weeks the headstone was ready and Fred went for a look. He was most disconcerted to see that the headstone read. ‘She were thin’

“She were thin? Thin? Yer daft bugger. You’ve missed off an ‘E’.”

“Terribly sorry Sir, we’ll put it right for you.”

Fred went back the day after to see the corrected headstone.

This time it read:

‘Ee, she were thin.’


Nearly due a telegram from the queen

After a quick tot up yesterday, we realised that our old cat is very near due a telegram from the queen. If she can only last a few more months….

Our people/child/dog/attention/vet  intolerant delicate little ingenue witch cat has reached the grand old age of  19 which is 92 in human years.   As you can expect at that kind of age, she is a bit rickety. The eyes have clouded over and she limps occasionally, ‘specially when the weather is cold, not that she goes out much these days.  She just holds court on the landing where the warm pipes are, and sleeps her days away.

Yesterday, during  a rare moment of playfulness with Boofuls, he noticed that her claws have grown so long they are stating to curl under. Ow! Ow! Ow!  I’ve felt those claws and they’re bloody sharp.  That means yet another trip to the vet then. That’ll be fun. NOT!

There is a grave danger that one or both  of us, or the vet or all of us will lose our faces tomorrow courtesy of those claws. She doesn’t take kindly to being messed around with, this cat. That’s always supposing we can get her to the vet’s  in the first place.

She seems to have a bit of a sixth sense when it come the the arrival of a cat basket and she can’t half shift a bit smartish on those feline tootsies when it suits her. I can see a bit of a pantomime ahead.  When she doesn’t want to go out she runs downstairs and hides under the table, when I shoo her out she runs back upstairs so we can repeat the whole performance two or three times. I swear I can hear her laughing at me puffing and panting as I teararse round the house.

Here she is in her usual spot looking all sweet, innocent and harmless. Don’t be fooled, she is a finely honed killing machine. Many a small furry or winged creature has lost it’s life because of her. Doesn’t she look gentle? Don’t get too close to your monitor or she’ll have you too:

Black cat

The other cat, you’ll be glad to know has made a full recovery. he still looks like he’s been pulled through a hedge backwards. Mostly because  every time I’d administered the greasy ‘orrible ear drops that the vet gave us he’d give his head an almighty shake and most of the thick and unctuous liquid went all over his fur. It might take a while before he regains his usual regal features:

Sulking Ragdoll cat

That floppy ear and the bedraggled coat make him look a bit of a bruiser, don’t they? He’s not at all. This cat is the most gentle creature ever.  Oh how deceptive appearances can be.

Mrs Woofy and me had a lovely walk on the moors today. It wasn’t in the least bit cold, instead it was foggy and gloomy, I suppose you can’t have everything.  Here are a few foggy photos taken on my phone. Yes, I know I’m overusing the lomo app, I just love it.

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Doncha just love that heart shaped puddle?

a bit of light music

As part of our celebrations I’d put together the most fantastic playlist. Thank God I put it onto my iphone or we’d have been music-less on the day.  Sicne it’s such a fantastic playlist  and it would be a shame to waste it, I thought I’d put it on here for your delectation.

Some of the tracks are just ones that we like, others have great sentimental significance and cause me to fill up every time I hear them.

This first track was my ‘walking in with Big N’ music:

Noah and The Whale. 5 Years Time

Next up was our ‘signing the register’ music:

Louis Armstrong. What a Wonderful World

Then was our ‘ end of the service’ music

Paulo Nutini. Pencil Full of Lead

After that was a fabulous selection of music which included:

Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher

A few tracks from Robbie William’s Swing When You’re Winning

A bit of Queen ( had to be done)

Yolanda B Cool and DCUP’s  I No Speak Americano

And a fair selection of my bangingest Latin American music tracks including, ‘Eoaeo’. You can’t not smile when you’re listening to lyrics like:

“I cannot stop this leg of mine when there’s boom chica boom chica boom.”

It’s been a bit windy round here today.  Our dear old darwen Tower has been reduced from this:

Darwen Tower and clingons

To this:

Topless Darwen Tower

It’s topless. oo-er missus!

We had winds of up to 80 mph here last night. The wind wailed and howled round the house all night long with occasional gusts that rattled the windows and  scared the cats (and me).  We seem to have escaped with no damage but the tower is looking more than a bit sorry for itself.  Winter is well and truly here.

On a more tranquil note; here is a photo of the bandstand in Sunnyhurst Woods from when I was there with Mrs Woofy the other day.

Bandstand, Sunnyhurst woods

It’s been an ‘owl’ of a week

Leaning out of the back door the other evening enjoying the warmth and evening sunlight, I noticed a bird, bold as brass, sitting and gawping at me like it was wondering what on earth I was and what I was doing.  I gawped back at it for a while and there we stood gawping at each other for what seemed an age before I decided to get the binoculars for a closer look.

Kestrel or owl?  Let’s find out.  It turned out to be a Little Owl. Blimey, whoever named this bird was severely lacking in the imagination department. I can just imagine it was some balding middle aged geeky ornithologist named Roland in brown corduroy trousers with a brylceemed comb over. I can’t argue with him about it being technically correct though because it was certainly an owl and it was little.  Blimey, we don’t see many of those around here.

It was just sitting there on a fence post watching the world go by. Eventually we lost interest in each other and went about our business.

little owl


Here’s a tale from Poo Corner:

Friends on Facebook will know that where there’s muck there’s brass. Not that I’ve been moaning about it or anything but it’s just cost us £300 to get our septic tank emptied. £300!!!

The purveyors of poo turned up at 8.30 this morning with not one but TWO tankers with which to export the excrement.   That’s a lot of poo. Much to my surprise I’ve discovered today that our poo doesn’t in fact smell of roses as I thought. No, there are many words I can use to describe the smell drifting round the garden but roses would most definitely not be it. Even Mrs Woofy, who stayed at our house last night and who,  as we all know is a veritable connoisseur of crap, wrinkled her nose is disgust and made a dash for the car so we could get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

I can only assume that the shit shifters who carry out the dirty deed become immune to the small, as I walked down to the bottom of the garden to tell them I was leaving, they were all stood around the open septic tank chatting, drinking cups of tea and eating butties. My stomach heaved at the very thought of it.

Telling one of the neighbours that we were getting the tank emptied he then informed us that his friend would have done  it for £150. “Really could have done to have known that BEFORE now.”

This afternoon me and Mrs Woofy went for a nice long, humid walk in the woods. We haven’t been there for weeks and I’ve missed it. Now that the leaves are starting to turn it’s looking beautiful.  Strolling along I gradually noticed that in between all the tweetling of the little birds and the coo cooing of various pigeons I could hear an owl too-it too-wooing. Huh? I though owls were nocturnal. What’s going on, has Darwen suddenly become a Mecca for owls?  Time and again it too-it too-wood it’s little head off. It made the walk so much more interesting. It’s alright strolling around with headphones on and the ipod blaring but what a lot you miss. It made my day, that (sad but true).

At this point I have to make a SERIOUS announcement;

YAY!!!! The dog has FINALLY got the idea!!!!!!

After a tragic agility class on Monday where she forgot she was a labrador and thought she was a greyhound, teararsing over all the jumps, through the tunnel and leaping off the top of the A frame,  she ran round the outside of the course doing six laps at breakneck speed before stopping for an energy snack of horse poo. I of course stood watching helplessly in the middle of the arena calling out her name and feeling very stupid while the other dog owners doubled up with laughter.

At, what is laughingly called, obedience training last night she and a little beagle called Molly decided to sing a duet while the trainer was trying to speak. He asked for a volunteer to demonstrate and exercise, “a dog who’s quite good at recall and distance control.” The silence was deafening. Eventually I suggested to him that he try the next class.

It’s been a bit disheartening for the last week or two, the dog doesn’t seem to be getting the idea at all. I’ve even been considering leaving the class as it’s a bit like beating my head against a brick wall.

As if by magic the dog seems to have picked up on my mood and been decided to be good as gold. I walked a full half mile with her on the lead at the beginning and at the end of our walk and she didn’t pull ONCE!!  BREAKTHROUGH!!!!!

I walked back to the car with the biggest smile on my face. Local residents must have thought I was deranged. When I got home I saw this poem. It’s a bit twee and I’ve no idea who wrote it but it fitted my mood at the time and I like the sentiment:


Smiling is infectious,

You catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too!

I walked around a corner,
And someone saw my grin,
When he smiled too I realised,
I’d passed it onto him.

I thought about this smile of mine,
And realised what it’s worth,
A single smile began by me,
Could travel round the earth.

So if you feel a smile begin,
Don’t leave it undetected,
Let’s start an epidemic now,
And get the world infected 🙂


From: http://touchedbymax.weebly.com/-celebrate-life-everyday.html

Trumpet tooting time

That’d be my own trumpet. I’m feeling a bit pleased with my little self at the moment because this magazine dropped through my letterbox the other day:

BBe Inspired

Hang on a minute, I thought. That’s one of my photos on the front cover!  I’d forgotten about that.  Taking a quick flick through it, looking for my own pictures of course, I soon came across this page and felt even more pleased with myself.  Full page!!!!

Whalley Abbey

Ok, I know it’s not Italian Vogue, but it’s a start!

Waking up this morning to yet another gloomy sky I felt my heart sink before I even got out of bed. That’s  no way to start the day, is it?  It’s August for God’s sake, a bit of sunshine in August shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Me and one of the clingons went for a walk in the soggy woods yesterday with poochie. It’s fair to say that I’m getting well and truly fed up with rain. We still had fun though, here are a couple of photos  from the walk.

Looking towards Darwen
Upright and upside down

Sorry.  It’s that lomo app again, I can’t leave it alone!  It’s the same with the ‘ ! ‘ key, I can’t seem to leave that alone either!!!

Autumn leaves?

We were walking down through the woods, listening to Reel Big Fish on my phone whule I tried to  cough over all the swear words so my granddaughter wouldn’t be corrupted. It would have been ok if I’d casught them all but I did miss quite a few. “Oh Nanny,” “I’ve heard far worse than that, what are you worried about?”

Anyway,  ambling through the woods, we saw this tree. “Oh look, that’s pretty,” I said before realising that it was pretty  because the leaves are turning.  Whaaaaaattt?? Bloody hell!  We haven’t had our summer yet. Get away with your autumn leaves and come back in October when it’s time (Ok, September isn’t unreasonable but we haven’t had summer yet, fair do’s).

Strolling – and a few random photos

Yesrday morning I had to go and see one of my brides who it turns out is incapable of looking at photos of herself without being hyper critical. AS a size 6/8 she hardly qualifies as fat but every time she saw a photo of her bare arm (not just her arm – that would be weird) she hollers, “ooohh look how fat my arms are.”   If her head wasn’t at exactly the correct angle then it was ” Can you photoshop my nose, it’s just awful.”  I think she may have some body issues that need addressing.

On top of all that she’s obviously a fussy mare who likes everything just so. Her new MIL had the audacity to change her shoes at the wedding reception and then pose for a photo  in the wrong shoes!!!! Quelle horreur!!!  I’ve been asked if I could photoshop the correct shoes back in.  I may have tactfully suggested at this point that she get herself a life.

After spending an hour and a half with the bride and suggesting that the album won’t be properly balanced if there are only photos of her groom in it (she loves all his photos)  I left with a notebook full of instructions on how to create her album. The words:’grandmother’ and ‘eggs’  sprang to mind but I kept my cool and let her rant on.  Tsk I don;t know about never working with animals or children, it’s ingenues that are difficult!!

A 40 minute drive back up the motorway with Paulo Nutini blasting from the speakers restored my spirits tremendously so I arrived to take poochie and the clingons for a walk in a cheery mood despite the rain. Gembolina decided to come along as well so it was a nice afternoons amble through the woods and over the golf course. Even the rain stayed away.  Here are a few random photos for you from yesterday.  A couple of  them might need a bit of explanation.

Where we work is a site with industrial units. The chap in one of the units decided to buy himself a boat and keep it on the car park while he restored it. It has since been the source of much merriment. Would you want to set sail in it?

Boat skeleton
Yo ho ho and a bottle o' rum

He had no idea it was going to be such a big job. What was going to be a refurbishment job has turned out to be a complete rebuild. He could have bought a new boat cheaper.  In the meantime though, it gives passers by something to gawp at.

So. Amble, amble, amble, up hill and down dale, across farmland and through the woods, we had a lovely walk yesterday. Poor Dangerous  D was exhausted when we’d finished, she isn’t used to walking that kind of distance. Why do we call her Dangerous D?  Because she is closely related Major Claim and General Accident, a more accident prone child I have yet to meet.  I really hope she grows out of it

Thistly thing

They say round here that if you can see Darwen Tower it’s going to rain. If you can’t see it it is raining.  Well, here’s a photo of Darwen Tower from Blacksnape.

I was pi55ed wet through, so was the dog, what a great walk, it really blew the cobwebs away.

Some of my girls

DD, Gembolina and L climbing a a random wall we found in the middle of nowhere.

Lomo app hydrangea

I used the lomo app again!!  I think I’m in sever danger of overusing it,  Hydrangeas are gorgeous but I thought it looked even more gorgeous with the lomo treatment.


This is one of the little foals in the field next to the house. They are so gorgeous. I don’t think this one realised this isn’t how horses generally sit.

Darwen golf course

Killing time

I have a plan for this afternoon. The plan is to shoot some gorgeous, pretty and summery pictures of baby E.  The clouds are still scuttling around the sky only occasionally letting a brief glimpse of sunlight through just to remind us that beyond their  grey and dank curtain is a gorgeous day.

Since the weather isn’t playing ball I’ve spent a good part of this afternoon building a set in the living room. All I need now is a co-operative small child and I’ve cracked it.  As I write this she is apparently having a nap so she’ll be all bubbly and bright when she gets here with a bit of luck, a glass of milk and a banana.

You know how film stars have a set of demands when they are working? Well it’s the same for baby E. Her demands are always the same though: “Eyee’s cup (that’s the closest she can get to saying her name) mook, mook,mook (milk), and  narnar, narnar, narnar .” (banana).   If these demands aren’t met then she won’t co-operate at all, no matter what my agenda might be.  It must be in some unseen by me contract.


As the time for me and Boofuls to renew our vows get closer and closer, things are beginning to take shape. It’s starting to feel like something is actually going to happen and it isn’t just some thing we  talk about.   A couple of months ago I managed to get ‘the dress’ not at all what I thought I’d go for but very beautiful. Next came the jewels to go with the aforementioned frock.  What a bloody pularver that was!!

Me and my image consultant friend trawled the whole of Manchester  on more than one occasion looking for the perfect piece of jewellery.  Eventually we ended up in Swarovski andd I got a beautiful, asymmetrical, champagne coloured necklace for £130.   £130!!!!  Far more than I’d normally spend but as it’s for a special occasion etc etc…….  Getting home and trying it on with the dress it became instantly obvious that it didn’t work. Off back to Swarovski, who were brilliant incidentally,  for a refund.

Next job, get on the internet and see if I can find anything on there. Some stuff was ordered and quickly sent back because it didn’t look right. Eventually my bezzie mate pipes up, “Why don’t you go to ‘Peru2U’ they have some nice stuff in there.”    So I did.

It’s not a shop I’d ever been in before because every time I go past it I’m driving.  Well, haven’t I been missing out?! It’s an Aladdin’s cave of gorgeousness!!!

Quickly explaining to the lovely owner, Kath what I was looking for she suggested that I go in with the dress and we’d knock some ideas about and she might be able to make something to order for me.   So I did, the following day.  With my dress all  nicely wrapped up in tissue paper I headed back to the shop and showed it to Kath who gave it the once over while chatting with me about what I’d like the jewellery to be like.

“Glitzy, textured, glamorous, beads, stones, orange, pearly and pendanty.” were all  words that came out.  No pressure then, Kath.   She ummed and aaahed for a minute before heading to the back of the shop for a couple of small tubs of beads. Threading some beads and stones onto a wire she came back and held it against the dress. “What about some thing like this?”

It was perfect!!!!!

“Right leave it with me, I’ll have it ready for next week for you.”

Next week was today. I raced down to the shop to pick up my jewels.  They are AMAZING!!!  I can only assume that Kath is a mind reader because she perfectly interpreted what I’d told her and turned it into a superb necklace and earrings. Which is no mean feat because even I wouldn’t have been able to say exactly how it was to look.

‘Costly exercise, that.’ I can hear you thinking. Oh yes indeedy. I was a bit worried about asking what the cost of this little ensemble was going to cost but to be honest it didn’t really matter because I was having it no matter what.   You might want to take a deep breath and sit down for this next bit:

£ 19.99

Nope, I didn’t put the decimal in the wrong place. Yes, you did read it correctly. £19.99 for necklace, earrings and bracelet.   WOW!!!!!!

Why am I being so crass as to tell you what it cost? Because  I happen to know she sells on the internet and  you can stock up on lovely costume jewellery for extremely reasonable prices.

A great big bunch of blooming great scented roses to Kath at Peru2U.

For once no one gets any onions (except the weather) .

Well, Im off now to take some photos. See ya.

What’s that?

Have I forgotten something?  I don’t think so.

Can you see the jewellery?   No, course not. I’m saving it for a special occasion. Go and look  on Kath’s website if you want to see jewels. You’ll have to wait till Novemebr to see mine.