#Ironbridge2014: Day 4 (April 16th)

Our Adventure to Ironbridge

Original image found here.

Today started with a whole debate over whether or not it was time to get up. I could have probably slept for longer but the elephants wearing boots were awake and stampeding along the corridor so getting up was less painless.

I had fruit loaf for breakfast which had been bought at Blists Hill Bakery. I also had supermarket pretend Shreddies. Also threatened to attempt to steal the papaya from Chris’s cereal however the pieces were that small it made more sense to stick with the raisins in the fruit loaf.

While at breakfast another family were packing up getting ready to head home, the Mum of the family offered us a bottle of milk that they’d bought but hadn’t opened. I think she was on a mission to pack down as much as possible and not take home what they didn’t need to. (Our usual trick was that Mum would give us the milk and cups if needed and Rich and I would work our ways through it! One year I ended up nursing the bottle for about an hour because I kept letting out the hugest burps ever!)

We got on the road and headed for Bridgnorth. We tried a pay and display car park but it was a small fortune to park so we managed to find some free parking in a residential street and walked back to the town centre. I think I worked out I was aiming for 2k steps on my Fitbit before we even really had started the day.

To get from where we had parked the car to the town centre we had to walk down a huge hill. (Later it would turn out this was part of the route between the High Town and Low Town anyway).

We worked our way along the High Street looking at the shops and had a look in a few of them. We went into the Town Hall for a look round. It was really interesting especially the hall which I guess is used for council meetings now but historically was used as a court and people could be sentenced to death from there. We also had a look in the Northgate Museum – it was interesting but was so warm and stuffy that I did it quickly and went to wait outside. I sat on the stairs outside while the boys finished.

The view from the top of the railway

We went on the Cliff Railway from the High Town to Low Town. Chris and I both enjoyed it but Our Sidekick wasn’t too happy about it as he’s not a fan of heights. At the bottom we sat next to the river and watched the ducks. At one point Our Sidekick’s phone rang so while he talked to his friend, Chris and I sat doing a commentary to a little duck trying to swim against the tide across the river (and also sounded random comments at the phone to wind Our Sidekick’s friend up!)

We decided it was time to find some lunch but decided that we’d have lunch in reverse so stopped at an ice cream parlor for ice cream first before getting the cliff railway back up the hill. I had lemon meringue in a cone and Our Sidekick had mint choc chip in a cone. Chris then showed off and had a Knickerbocker Glory.

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

Following our Ice Cream stop, the boys decided to race the Cliff Railway while I rode it. Funnily enough they won, especially as a lady arguing about her ticket was delaying the carriage from going. At the top I stopped to take a photo for a family who had been on the train. The grandparents had local accents but the son (or the dad of the children who were there) had a really thick Kiwi accent.

We then walked a round the “mound” to find the remains of the castle. From the history lesson I got, the remaining section of what was Bridgnorth Castle leans at a 15 degree angle which is four times that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa). At the end of the path as you get to the castle gardens you can see out across the town and you can see the Severn Valley Railway. My Dad had been sending me info about it via text message. Our Sidekick and I sat in the castle gardens and chatted while Chris went to get us some lunch, when he came back we decided to head down to the railway. I guess it we’d thought about it more we could have spent more time in Kidderminster and got a different train back but unfortunately we had mis-planned it and had to get the next train back but it was still a fascinating trip. The carriages were being pulled by a train called Erlestoke Manor. It was a racing green steam locomotive.

The view of the platform from the train

At Kidderminster, we bought a postcard for Our Sidekick to write to his Mum. My purse has the trains pattern by Cath Kidston on it and the lady in the gift shop commented on how she really liked it. We then went to find some seats on the return journey – in the end the train was probably 80-90% empty so we played musical chairs depending on where on the route we were. At one point a train stopped alongside us while sorting out the signals. I moved chair and chatted to a little girl and boy who were stood up against the window on the other train watching. The little boy was about 18 months so couldn’t really join in but his sister was making up for all of that!!

When we got back to Bridgnorth we walked back to the car and headed for the hostel. When we got back Chris cooked curry for us which was really good but I wasn’t entirely hungry so after about less than half I had had enough. I feel so bad throwing away the food but we just don’t have any where to store it. I guess we could have brought Tupperware or storage boxes with us but again we’re limited on fridge space in the hostel.

After tea, Chris and I hung out in the lounge but I was feeling really shattered and thought I was going to fall asleep on the sofa so decided I needed to get into bed so that if I did doze off it wasn’t the end of the world.

So comfy!! Not good!

#Ironbridge2014: Day 3 (April 15th)

Our Adventure to Ironbridge

Original image found here.

Today’s main visit was to Blists Hill. It is walking distance from the YHA we’re staying in but it is a steep uphill climb so I ended up driving and the boys walked to meet me there.

Our passport for the Ironbridge museums meant that we didn’t have to wait for the queue at entrance as we could go through like a fast track go. The first bit is an introduction video – with so many people coming through the video had started before we got in so it was silly staying for the beginning when we’d already seen the end.

We started our day at the bank. The exchange rate is set at Blists Hill I think it worked out that we got 40 new pence to a Victorian old pence. I thought i had just about got the hang of it until we got to one of the little shops and I got all in a muddle!

Made a cash withdrawal at the bank

In the Chemist there was a little office for the dentists at one side and a cabinet and bits for the opticians. Our friend from church is a dentist and we joked that it was his new office.

The Murf's New Office

We didn’t get to have a go on the carriage but these beautiful Shire horses were working their socks off pulling the carriage along the Main Street and giving people rides. Our Sidekick kept commenting how big they were so I showed him a picture of a Shire horse next to a Shetland pony. That really proved the point then!

Beautiful Shire horses

For lunch we had fish and chips and sat along the Old Canal (which is somehow the same bit that than outside YHA Coalport where we’re staying. The chips were cooked in beef fat – they were yummy but you can guarantee that they were most definitely not Slimming World friendly lol. We did a massive chunk of walking so it’s no surprise that I managed to hit 10k steps on my FitBit. I think that makes the new target around 11k. Then again given that I came home and had a nap (unintentionally!) clearly I may have overdone it. Oops!

After Blists Hill we popped into Telford to go to the supermarket as we needed a tray for the pasta bake that I was making for dinner. Chris and I went for a walk around the shopping centre. I bought a new handbag as the popper on my Fatface one that I’ve been using for two weeks ish to make sure that I don’t carry too much. I bought a black cross body one with lots of pockets and hopefully it should be okay to work at least until we get home if not longer. Give it 11 weeks and my handbag will resemble a changing bag so for now it’ll work for me I’m sure.

Following dinner back at the hostel, Chris and I played Jenga and I won which was insane. Then we played Scrabble. I was winning for nearly the whole game until about 5 turns from the end then Chris over took and left me for dust! Our Sidekick then somehow ended up playing Chris at Scrabble. I ended up being the dictionary to assist him. I think we got it to about 24 points between them which when I was closer to 30 behind Chris clearly Our Sidekick and I are a good team.

April 16: Dear Blueberry – 29 Weeks

blueberry

Dear Blueberry,

This week you’re on sort of our first holiday. With you arriving between half term and the Summer holiday we decided that we’d take our family holiday now at Easter instead and then Daddy and Our Sidekick would do day trips and things like that while you and me get the hang of each other.

You’ve been perfect when it’s come to sleeping, you haven’t really fidgeted and done most of the fidget during the day which is good. Between not being in my own bed and the noise in the building I haven’t slept amazingly but seeing how I’m still getting around 7 to 8 hours sleep a night anyway I should be grateful. Also by being on holiday rather than at work, napping mid afternoon is totally acceptable and easy to do.

I can’t work out if it’s where you’re sat or if it’s just a normal thing but I can’t make up my mind whether I’m hungry or not. And when I am hungry I usually don’t want what Daddy has cooked for me – oops! Tonight is curry and peshwari naan. I think it’s like a korma or something like that so it’s not going to be spicy at all. Have been trying to attempt little and often rather than three massive meals. Does mean I’ve probably ate far too much chocolate but I don’t think you mind lol.

Our Sidekick is still excited about your impending arrival. He’s been asking deeper questions with regards to what it feels like and will I forget what it’s like to deliver you…..I said that I think the end goal of holding you in my arms after carrying you around for 9 months will out weigh any pain from labour. He’s got all sorts of things planned like teaching you to ride a skate board and how to eat chicken the proper way (apparently Daddy and I have it wrong!)

I was asked by a lady at the SVR station at Kidderminster today how long I had left to go. 11 weeks until your due date. I have no idea if you’ll arrive on time or not, if you’re like me and Grandma you’ll be early and so it’s probably good that after this week I have 9 shifts left and then I’m on maternity leave and somewhere in all that I turn 28. What flavour cake shall we have baby?

You’re special baby in case you didn’t know I thought I’d tell you.

Love you Mummy.

Bye bye feet. Hello baby!!

Bye Bye Feet. Hello Baby

#Ironbridge2014: Day 2 (April 14th)

Our Adventure to Ironbridge

Original image found here.

First thing this morning we headed to Telford town centre to find the local supermarket – it was a little challenging as Google Maps directed us to the old store and we needed the relocated one. It was just round the corner but there’s a chunk of road works going on at the moment so we had to take a massive diversion around the town.

We got breakfast in the supermarket cafe which was fun as Chris can’t eat some bits of the breakfast and Our Sidekick doesn’t like other bits which meant that we all sat down and then swapped bits. I had Chris’s toast, he had Our Sidekick’s mushrooms and Our Sidekick had the sausages from Chris’s breakfast. Makes it easier than trying to swap out a heap of items and holding up the queue.

After we had breakfast we did shopping to make sure that we had food for the majority of the rest of the week. We came back to the hostel via the petrol station and sorted all the food so our stuff was labelled.

We then started our day properly. We went to the China Museum which is across the car park from the hostel. There were mainly plates but there were also figurines of ladies in amazing dresses and chaps in smart outfits. I think I vaguely remember them from when I used to watch Antiques Roadshow on a Sunday afternoon with my Mum and Dad while we ate our tea.

Fun at the China Museum

There was lots of history bits about when the china factory was built and why it was built particularly here. In one of the workshops you could do mug painting but there also other choices so I painted a fridge magnet of a sunflower and a ladybird. Our Sidekick painted a Rose fridge magnet for his Mum and Chris painted a duck money box (if he doesn’t know what to do with it then I might adopt it for the nursery but sssh! Lol).

We walked along the river to the Tar Tunnel. It was probably about half a mile away which doesn’t seem that long until you walk it having just been to the supermarket and done one museum already. I was beginning to struggle as my ankles have decided that staying their normal size isn’t acceptable and so swelling up is the best choice lol. We purchased a passport ticket which got us into about 10 different venues and museums. It saves a lot of money overall especially as the Tar Tunnel isn’t necessarily worth the fee that you’d actually pay for it by itself. It’s a long tunnel that you walk along (attempting not to knock yourself out – being 5 ft 3 has it’s uses then!) and there a couple of tar pools along side the path and you can see a really big tar pool at the end where it’s fenced off. It goes with the history of the whole area as the chap who owned it wanted to dig a tunnel from next to the river to the mine at Blists Hill – the idea being that he could then get the produce of the mine to the river easier and then out to different ports. Unfortunately nature has this way of messing up good ideas and the tar pools meant that the tunnel had to be abandoned.

Our Sidekick and I made it out first as I was struggling with ducking for the bits where I actually needed to and I think he had had enough of ducking down even more! We sat out in the sunshine and chatted about what we thought about it and he tried jumping to and from different bits of stone/wall.

After the Tar Tunnel we stood on the bridge that goes over the bottom of the Hay Incline. I think this was the original route of the produce from the mine to the river but the tunnel was supposed to be more efficient. Our Sidekick wanted to be a stunt man and climb the incline. There were people coming down from the top but we decided it probably needed a bit more exploration before letting him loose on it (if you’re actually allowed on it, in the first place).

On the way back we went to the Maws Craft Centre. I think Mum and Dad had been there in the past so my Dad had recommended it. It looked like it was really close so I figured I’d attempt to get myself there – there was vehicular access so if I’d been really desperate the boys could have gone back for the car and then come and got me. There were a number of interesting shops but a lot of them are closed on Mondays and a few of them have moved out of the craft centre to different locations – one had moved to Shifnal which is a village near Telford. We went into one of the little shops which had cross stitch kits, yarn, paper cutters for scrap booking and various other bits and pieces. It was a fairly small unit and the lady had all sorts in there – unfortunately it was so rammed to the rafters that I struggled to find anything “useful” the yarn that I did find and I do like was priced up higher than in the yarn shop close to home so I decided unless I was really desperate I would stick with what I brought from home and if I need some later in the week I would chat to my Brummie friends and see it they can direct me somewhere in the city (which could be a fraction of the price) or wait until I get home as I have plenty to work my way through anyway.

After the craft centre, we came back to the hostel and got some lunch – had my first jam sandwich in about nine months – it was so good!! Don’t worry it was reduced sugar jam and whole meal bread. Following lunch I went back to the room and the boys got ready for a mammoth walk to explore the area. I laid reading my book (Rizzoli and Isles: The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen) and eventually ended up falling asleep for a bit. Next thing I knew they’d been for their walk and were on their way back through the door to tell me all about their adventures.

Chris was on dinner duty and made a huge pan of stir fry – I’m not sure how many people he thought he was feeding but there was more than enough for 3 of us lol.

Following dinner we went back to the room and just hung out and chatted. Chris was quite tired after the walk and he fell asleep before Our Sidekick and I. We went to sleep and were both out for the count. I woke up around 00:15 when one of the neighbours switched on their shower – thankfully it was a quick one and I was asleep again within 20 minutes I think.

#Ironbridge2014: Day 1 (April 13th)

Our Adventure to Ironbridge

Original image found here.

As normal we started Sunday with church. It was a special day as there was a guest speaker called Chris and a lunch for the associate pastor and his wife as he’s retiring. We left part way through dessert as we needed to get on the road but I’ve seen photos from the rest of the lunch and it looked like it was a lot of fun.

When the summer holidays arrive in July, we will have a recently arrived newborn to be coping with so we decided that we’d do our main family holiday now in the Easter holidays rather than going away in the Summer holiday. I think Chris is thinking of some day trips and adventures for him and Our Sidekick to go on when I’m at home with baby – some I might be able to do but I guess it depends on what they’ve got planned.

We left church, popped into Mum’s and a quick visit home and to the garage for some air to put into the tyres then got on the road.

For a Sunday afternoon the traffic wasn’t too bad. It was a little bit busy around the M6 just near Spaghetti junction (that’s M6 J6 to other people) but the traffic kept flowing. As Chris was DJ-ing at a wedding last night he had a bunch of new music so we spent pretty much the whole journey playing “Guess That Song” mixed in with counting VW Campervans (we got to 9 – if you include VW Transporters and Caravelles we were on 11!).

We arrived at the youth hostel just after 6pm to a lovely welcome. The building is on the hillside so the entrance is at ground level on one side of the building but there’s a second entrance on the first floor – so our room looks out onto the road at ground level but the window opposite our door looks out from the first floor.

While the boys unloaded the car I made up the three beds – I figured it was easier for me than attempting the stairs again. The sheet for my bed was far too small and so didn’t fit the bed properly – I think Chris is going to mention it next time we go through reception.

Chris made us dinner in the self catering kitchen. We’d brought a bunch of stuff from the cupboard and the fridge as we’d arrive after the shops closed. He had a packet of green pesto ravioli, then made a sauce from a tin of tomatoes, some onion, some carrots and I think a pepper – it was really yummy. He had some rice noodles for him so that made his bit gluten free.

YHA Coalport

Following dinner, we went for a wander around the grounds that the youth hostel sits in. It’s on the same bit of ground as the Ironbridge China Museum and sits right next to the River Severn and the Old Canal. We then came back into the hostel and hung out in the lounge. Johnny English was on the TV so we sat and watched that while I wrote this post. We headed back to our room and hang out together just chatting and laughing.

AtoZ Challenge: I is for…Interests

A to Z Challenge

I is for….Interests

Originally I had planned a different post but between life generally taking over my week seemed to run away so technically I’m writing this on Sunday and then back dating it.

So I decided to change it to interests.

Knitting
Knitting and crochet are both activities I’ve watched my Mum and my Grandma’s do as I’ve grown up. It took my Mum a few (patient!) attempts to teach me to knit and for quite a long time all I could do was knit rather than purl. Eventually I got the hang of purling and happily switch between the two.

My lovely friend Judit from Monster Yarns keeps attempting to encourage me onto something more complicated like a jumper or a cardigan rather than sticking with scarves or cowls!! She’s right I need to get out of my comfort zone and try something new!

Crochet
Whereas knitting I picked up fairly quickly (in the scale of things) but for a long time crochet wouldn’t stick. I couldn’t get the hang of it. Then about two years ago Mum sat down and taught me again and some how this time it did stick. I wrote about learning to crochet in more detail here.

Blogging and Social Media
I’ve been blogging for about eight or nine years now. Originally it started as trying to learn a new skill I’d found a website where I could build my own site but it was really basic and full of ads that I had no control over. Somewhere along the line Chris started teaching me how to write HTML and then got me onto WordPress and my first blog was born. As the years have gone it’s between tweaked and changed and this is the current incarnation (which still isn’t quite right! My fonts seem to be having a stupid moment!!)

Social Media is a newer thing. I joined Twitter about seven years ago and I think Facebook was somewhere around that too. I think I was on both before they properly took off here in the UK but the thing was because there wasn’t really anyone I knew on them I signed up for the accounts and didn’t really do anything with them. In an ideal world if I did need to go back to work after Blueberry is born I’d love to be able to run my own business doing social media for other companies – but where on earth would I start? I sort of had something happening as a part time gig but for one or another reason it didn’t work out. Maybe I need to start jotting down ideas and chat to some of those entrepreneurs out there that I chat to on twitter and other networks. Maybe they can help me.

Movies
I am a cinema nerd. Well at least I always thought I was but one of my colleagues at work is even more of a nerd than I am. He has a verging on encyclopaedic knowledge of who won Best Picture at the Oscars and in which year and then the films that the Best Actor then appeared in and all sorts of things.

I tend to stick to the same genres but am trying to broaden my horizons. I watched Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a little while ago as it’s available on Netflix. It was okay but again threw another twist on what vampires can and can’t do. (They don’t sparkle a la Twilight but apparently the vampires can cake on sunscreen and go out in the sunshine…..seriously, are you kidding me?). I also quite like foreign film. I watched one called “It’s OK I’m a Cyborg” which is a Korean film. It was really random and quite quirky but still quite good.

Reading Books
I am a book worm. I haven’t been as good at reading this year as I have in others. I’m almost finished book 4 or 5 of the year. Oh dear. I really need to get a move on. I am currently reading The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen. It’s really grim in some places but it is a crime novel so kind of expected!! I’ll either read the next one in the series if I can get it on my kindle app or drag the boys to a book shop during the week.

Right about to run out of charge in my phone. Might be time to to find a charger and go read.

AtoZ Challenge: H is for…Hello Baby (aka Dear Blueberry ā€“ 28 Weeks)

A to Z Challenge

H is for….Hello Baby

blueberry

Hello third trimester. Here we go! So today I went to see the midwife, all sorts to check up on. While sat in the waiting room, I bumped into my Grandad who was there collecting some bits for Grandma. I got my results from my glucose test frm last week – that was all good, there was also a test for my iron levels which were also normal (yeah!).

I had a trainee midwife for some of my appointment, she had a feel of my bump and measured it (normal range again!), she worked out that either baby’s head or baby’s bottom was just under my ribs on my right hand side. I had to have my anti-d injection which made my arm hurt for a few minutes. She asked did I want a warning or should she just go ahead, I said just go ahead. She gave me the injection and my arm bled a little bit and some of the injection dribbled down my arm so she had to grab a swab thing to soak up the blood/injection combination. After having my injection, I had to be weighed. The midwife was very impressed that I’d only put on about 2.5kg (6ish pounds) since my booking appointment just before Christmas. I think it’s the most normal I’ve ever been!

AtoZ Challenge: G is for…God

A to Z Challenge

G is for….God

My Grandma is one of my biggest role models. Through her whole life she’s trusted God that he’d provide and that he has a plan for her.

On Tuesday I saw her at the coffee morning at the church my parents and my grandparents attend. It’s funny that my rota day off in the week because of my Saturday shifts actually coincides with the coffee morning. It means I get to see my mum and my grandparents all in one day. We sat around the table this week chatting about how God provides and often provides at just the moment that you need it. Our circumstances changed at Christmas and it was exactly what we needed at that moment it time.

My mum sat at the other end of the table and got out my two scan pictures so show off. She’s so excited about her new grandbaby. Mum started knitting various bits and pieces and I’ve been crocheting ready for baby to arrive.

Each time I hear baby’s heartbeat and see baby fidgeting away on the monitor at my scans a certain bible verse pings into my brain, it’s from Psalm 139 and it says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

AtoZ Challenge: F is for…Films

A to Z Challenge

F is for….Films
This weekend was a unexpected mass film weekend. On Sunday evening, Chris and I went to see Noah at the cinema then this evening we went to see Divergent.

Noah Movie PosterAs you may have heard, Noah has had it’s critics. When I saw it was directed by Darren Aronofsky (directed Black Swan) I was always prepared that it wasn’t going to be a rainbows and butterflies version of the story – it was going to be dark and twisty because that seems to be what he does best (I saw Black Swan at the cinema and it gave me the creeps!).

Overall I liked the film, I’m not sure it’s necessarily one I’ll be downloading or getting on DVD but was interesting and raised questions. Chris and I spent most of the journey home chatting about the film. I think like a few bible stories we have a Sunday School version of it in a way, at Christmas we have a twee version with non-smelly animals and Easter doesn’t have the blood or the gore. The story of Noah takes 3 chapters in Genesis which in the whole scheme of things is a really small section of the bible. But actually even when you just count the rain (40 days and nights) and the amount of time it takes for the earth to dry out it’s nearly a year and that’s excluding all the time that Noah and his family spend building the ark in the first place. I think it was only when I saw Ila (Emma Watson’s character go through her pregnancy in the story did I realise quite how long they were in the ark for). A lot of Christians have been “upset” by the interpretation but once you get your head round that it isn’t a literal translation of the story then it is a good story in the long run.

DivergentDivergent was next up. My cousin is back from uni at the moment so we decided to go see the film. My aunt and my cousin are my film buddies, we saw all the Twilight films and the Hunger Games together so far, now we have the Divergent series to add to the list.

I read the book of Divergent in April 2012, so although I remembered bits of the story, I wasn’t entirely sure about the rest of the story. I think they did a really good job about getting Shailene to be like the Beatrice/Tris in the book, on the way back to the car we talked about how it was better than the version of Bella between the Twilight films and the Twilight movies. Overall I enjoyed it and it was a good film, some bits were tense and had me on the edge of my seat, there were a couple of bits that were missing between the book and the film but you always expect some bits to be missing along the line.