Sunday, November 10, 2019

And The Rain Came Down

What an exciting week! David and I had a mini-break in Chesterfield, but we only just made it home on Wednesday afternoon when the river Don burst its banks and caused no end of misery. We were on the last bus out of Chesterfield before all the buses were stopped, and if it hadn't been for a very good bus driver I doubt we would have got through. So, well done, the X17 bus driver who announced, "I'm going for it," and took his double decker bus slowly through the flood waters. (Pics down below).

And what did we do in Chesterfield? Well, apart from getting wet, we went to the church with the wonky spire, we took in the museum (worth a visit for the 'windlass' a huge wheel contraption that was used to winch up timbers during the construction of the spire - a bit like a giant guinea pig's treadmill), and we had a lot of fun. We stayed at the Portland Hotel, a Weatherspoon's establishment which was most comfortable, and, of course quite reasonably priced.

When we arrived on Wednesday, it was lunchtime, so we made for the oldest pub in Chesterfield, The amazing Royal Oak in the Shambles which was established in 1772 and has the most amazing timber ceiling. And what a little find it was! Mine host, Paul made sure we learned a little of the history of the place, while chef Craig  prepared our lunch - home made mash with spicy pumpkin and lentil stew. It was hearty and wholesome, and we swilled it down with ale and cider (I'm a cider person). I have to say there were so many good things on the menu, all under a tenner, it was difficult to choose, lots of vegetarian options too. If we'd been celebrating we could have had a bottle of Segura Brut Cava Reserva for £17.95, but we have had our share of celebrations this side of Christmas, so we stuck to the cheaper stuff. Still, it's good to have the option. Thank you Paul and Craig for an excellent start to our Chesterfield trip.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the nooks and crannies, the shops, and the library, where we partook of chocolate cake and coffee - ooh, naughty!

Then the rain started, but it didn't stop us venturing forth into the drizzle for an evening of fun. First we had pre-open mic nibbles at a place called Einsteins, then hot footed it to the Coffee St, coffee lounge to meet up with fellow poets. The event was Spire Writes with guest poet our very good friend Jeff Platts. He was great, as usual, I love his stuff, it's gritty, honest, and entertaining. The other open mic poets were good too, (thanks for letting me join in) it was lovely to meet the Chesterfield poets.

So, job done, we braved the heavy rain on Thursday morning and attempted to look around the open air flea market. It wasn't too successful so we grabbed a Greggs sandwich and headed for the bus station. We caught the 1.30 p.m. X17 and arrived home just after 4 p.m. It was a long bus ride, but as I said earlier, we were very grateful to reach Birdwell in time for tea.

My little Friday volunteer job was cancelled due to the rain, so I had a lovely day off, just right for cooking all the apples that came from our son's apple tree. 

Now it's cello time, and the start of Christmas music. Great! Will I be good enough for a bit of busking this year - we'll see.

Enjoy my photos:

Floodwater at Meadowhall

Floodwater en route to Sheffield from Chesterfield

Scene from the X17

And the water came into the bus

Spire Writer Bob

Craig the Rapper

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Jeff Platts

Wacky Lady

The Book Tower
Our room at the Portland Hotel

Inside St Mary's Church

to the right of the main altar

Ancient tombs

Fantastic stained glass windows

The main altar

Such beautiful glass

The Wobbly Wonky Spire

St Mary's Church

Paul at the Royal Oak

David tucking in


Well restored

There's always a bar!

They don't make em like this now (the building I mean)

So, that was our week, it was quite eventful. And now I'm back on my diet. No more cider for a while, and back to one oatibix for breakfast. I have a couple of pounds to shift or I'll not get into my jeans, and that would be catastrophic; the last thing I need is the expense of new clothes.

I bought a new book this week, Mythos by Stephen Fry, so that is what I am about to do, immerse myself in Greek Gods, I've been taking the vitamin B12 so the old grey matter is already fizzing - just right for a dose of Zeus and Ares. 

I'll be back next week with an update of my news, meanwhile I do hope you have not been caught up in the flood waters. Keep safe dear reader, and have a good week.

Love and hugs,
Jane x

P.S.  If you haven't ordered your copy of either Higgs Bottom (the novel) or Scary Woman (poems) you can do that here - Christmas is coming!

Not too scary really!
Spoiler Alert! Higgs Bottom is a Place, not a Bottom!

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Spoken Word

Hello everybody, yes, the hills have certainly been alive with the sound of spoken voice this week. In preparation for last night's Barnsley Spoken Voices, Our North, CD launch, David and I took to the countryside and strode out while the weather was so good. Of course there was a bit of a rehearsal while we slogged up the hill to Pilley, if you can breathe whilst hot footing it up Pilley Hill, then there's not a lot wrong with you.

My week was spent in a panic of poems, with a little bit of cello practice thrown in. There was a very pleasant interlude on Thursday, Halloween, when a gruesomeness of grommet sized ghosts and ghouls came knocking at our door offering 'Trick or Treat.' Well, I didn't want a trick so I had my bowl of sweeties at the ready and a bit of change to throw into their buckets. Bless!

On Friday morning David and I went into town to do a bit of shopping, it was really busy. I think people were celebrating the Not Brexit day. It was good to see the town so swift. I went off to do my little volunteer bit for the afternoon, and David took the shopping home. When I got back the shed was all lit up with fairy lights, the electric fire warming the space, and the bottle of wine opened. We had a lovely 'shed date' complete with music. I love our shed.

Of course we watched the rugby world cup final on Saturday morning. What a shame our lads couldn't work their magic just one more time, but South Africa played so well, they did deserve to win.

And that brings me to yesterday, and a lovely Sunday. A family Sunday lunch with our son and his partner set us in a great mood for the evening's entertainment. It was the launch of the 'Our North' CD, at the Rockingham Centre in Hoyland. It's a venue we've never been to before, and we were pleasantly surprised when we found a bar (always a good start).

I was excited to be filmed by the Civic team for a little YouTube video (watch this space next month) and after that I could relax a bit and enjoy the event. There is such talent out there. The evening was organised by Jeff Platts, and Lee Pollard was on form, as was Billy Bywater, Neil Roystone, Stan Duncan, Jo Brooks, Tedge, Gladys Wainwright, Mick Hawkins, Nigel Downing, and Mark Jackson, (if I've missed anybody I am sorry).

And the evening was made all the better by a vegan buffet of Barnsley portions - the best curry I've had in a long time. Thank you Mick and your lovely lady, Laura, for providing such wonderful nosh.

So it's back to the diet today, sort of.

Here's a few pics of last night:

Jeff and Jane
The Crowd Gathers

Get the beer in Billy!

The CD is selling well

And guess who's books are on show.

Preparing the Order of Service

Stan Duncan and Co

Wayne and Jason the Civic Organizers

Another photo opportunity

poet Nigel Downing

Poet Gladys and Dave

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 They're not the best pics, but it gives you a flavour of the evening.

This week is shaping up and looking quite exciting, so check me out next week to find out what I've been up to.

Have a great week folks, lots of love and hugs,
Jane x

Tears From The Sun - The Story