Thursday, 29 November 2007

Help me finish my list.

this is my do do list from the "help me finish my list" swap on swap-bot with ideas from my received letters as well. i dounbt i'll ever complete all the things, but you never know! red text means its in progress and it will have a strikethrough when completed.

  • Go horse riding on a beach
  • Write a book
  • Catch my own crab for dinner
  • Try more different vegetables
  • Try more different fruits
  • Sell my greetings cards
  • Go fishing
  • Go kite surfing
  • Research my family tree
  • Audition for a reality TV show
  • Learn to ride a motorbike
  • View a house that’s for sale that i could never ever afford
  • Work on a farm
  • Go camping
  • Have a professional photo shoot at a studio
  • Go back packing
  • Make a time capsule
  • At out at a fine dining/celebrity restaurant
  • Take afternoon tea at a posh London like the Ritz
  • Go speed dating or to a singles night
  • Travel abroad outside of Europe
  • Go to a health/beauty parlour
  • Try equine assisted therapy
  • Go Ice Skating
  • Be on TV
  • Get a video camera and make a mini movie
  • Write a fan mail letter to someone famous that i admire
  • Stay up all night (stay awake for 24 hours)
  • Get a part in an amateur dramatics production
  • Do a sponsored event for charity
  • Sing in public
  • Take my Nan shopping
  • Join a group/activity in my local area
  • Join our local health walk
  • Gain a certificate in something (anything!)
  • Have a picnic
  • Go rock pooling
  • Clear out my old clothes that i don’t wear
  • Go to a quiz night
  • Help/befriend a person less able than myself
  • Drive something other than a normal car like a tank or racing car
  • Go back to a place i went to as a child and relive old memories
  • Read to a group of children
  • Make a smoothie with tofu
  • Have a family photo session
  • read a 1984 again
  • read another great british classic novel

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

i wish bluewater was closer to home!

i met nan at bluewater shopping centre today. i drove down with no problems, i left at 9am, stopped for petrol and was there by 9.45am! nan's coach didn't get in until 10.45am, so i stopped at Asda then drove onto Bluewater. i was inside bluewater by 10.15am.

nan was held up a bit by the major road works around the A2 junction but was only about 10 mins behind the scheduled time of arrival.

anyway we did a lap of the ground floor, went to John Lewis "The Place to Eat" for lunch (coped fine with a feta, olive and pepper salad with balsamic syrup and a fruit salad after) then did a lap of the upper mall finishing with a drink at a cafe before nan's coach arrived ready to go home at 4pm.

we got to john lewis restaurant early fo a drink and had a look at the family history bits i had found on her father's line of the family. nan had also spoken to her brother to compare what the remembered. Uncle arthur recalls his father being one of 9 children, 3 of whom died very young, and their parents' (so nan's paternal grandparents) died before nan was born. she had the name of the 6 who lived past childhood, and i was able to match them up to the census records i had found for 1901, 1891, 1881 and 1871. from those census records i could them tell nan the names of 2 of the siblings who didn't make it past childhood. i only have rough estimates of years of birth at the moment and i haven't found the name or birth of the 3 child who died young, although nan and uncle arthur have been led to believe that their father (who was the youngest of the nine) was named after the other child who died young.

so these are the rough birth dates i have so far:

Ellen (who called herself Nell, but was down as Susan E on one census) - 1877
William - 1880
Edith - 1881 - died young, before the 1891 census
ernest - 1883
henry (known as harry by nan) - 1890
thomas - 1891 - died young before the 1901 census
mabel - 1893
arthur - 1896

looking at the dates again there is a large gap in time between ernest and henry, so maybe i'll look at births in those years for the surname, plus i know that by the 1881 census they were living in southwark in london and had left plymouth in devon. as ellen was born in plymouth but william was born in southwark as were the rest of the children.

i was also able to tell nan that her grandfather and grandmother on the paternal side were named william H, born c.1854 and Susan E, born c.1855. i have also found william H as a child in the 1851 census in devon but his father was already dead as it shows his mother as a widow aged 44.

phew. so that was my lovel day at bluewater but as soon as i drove out of the carpark i hit solid traffic. it then took me 2 hours to drive the normally 10 minute route to get to the Dartford tunnel. according to 106.2 Heart FM they had closed it down to 1 lane at junction 30 the other side of the tunnel because they were doing "emergency repairs", but it caused 12 miles of queues. nan's coach drive told them that the road was erroding and subsiding which was what the emergency repairs were! once the radio said they had reoppened the road you could tell the difference and it was just a case of clearing the backlog through the tunnel which then moved within about 20 minutes.

the other side of the tunnel it was clear. so i decided to make a quick pit stop at Thurrock services, called mum and asked her to sort my dinner (yes i actually trusted someone else to prepare my food for a second time in one day!) and said i'd be 30 minutes. she reckoned more like an hour.

i was home in 35 minutes and very glad to be home too!

have said all that i wouldn't have missed my day with nan for the world. my 5 hours with her was certainly worth the hour travel there and the 3 hours journey home! and because of that i actaully don't feel stressed by the bad end to the day.

but now i really must get some sleep.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

A Mystery Solved!

from my research i noticed that my grandfather's grandfather died reasonably young, aged 34, in 1911. by this time his children were only about 5 or 6 (i can't remember without looking it up). but on the phone tonight nan mentioned that she remembered that grandpa's grandfather had died falling off a roof at the bottom of West Street in Brighton.

this then rang bells of someone dying early and when i checked who it was all the details slotted into place! Another mystery solved!

A Great Genealogy Resource

Mum asked a collegue at work about their family history research, as she knew that the lady and her husband had done quite a lot already.

The husband passed on a list of useful websites and this morning i've started working my way through them.

i've started with this one:

it contains scanner images of the birth, marriage and death indexes.

a great resource thats seem to be working well so far. their search system seems to be bringing up most of my names, but even if it doesn't you can look through the whole index if you know the year and quarter - the only problem is you have to work out what page number it is on!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Family Tree

Yesterday Mum and I went to Epping Library to have a half hour taster session on The website contains details or Census records, birth, marriage and death records, military records etc. however although you can see the basic name and details on the website you can't see any further details without paying a fee. for an annual subscription the fee is £80.

on her lunch time walk, when returning some maps to the library on day mum spotted a leaflet about this family history taster session and convinced me to phone and book one of the half hour slots, and i'm so glad she did!

it turns out that Essex county council has somehow got free access to the website and all the detailed information on it including images of the records at every Essex Library.

as the man was showing us how the website worked and what it had to offer, we used some of the details that i have from a family tree that a solicitor in sussex did for Grandpa a few years back. We entered the name of Grandpa's grandfather and found him! we were able to tell it was him as all the brothers and sisters listed matched those listed on my family tree, with a few extra added on! so now i have birth years for them and also know the name's and birth year's of their parents - which is grandpa's great grandparents!

mum and i were getting so excited when a woman from the library came over to tell the man that our half our was almost up. frustrating i know, but such a boost and kick start. he also gave us tips of drawing a family tree, one being; use a roll of wallpaper, as it's big and easy to transport. which is what i didn when i came home. i also went back to the ancestry website to see what information i could access from home. it is only basic names and years but i was able to find some years of deaths which also provided a couple of middle names. for example on the details i already had there was a Queenie A L Taylor. i put those details into the deaths search narrowing my search to england. i didn't even need to narrow it to sussex as in the list there was only one person of that name listed with those initials and that person died in sussex, which is where the person on my tree was last listed as living. on the website she was listed as Queenie Agnes L Taylor - so now i have a middle name for her as well!

i have nothing to do today, apart from maybe try and take some more photos for my christmas cards (as only 3 out of the dozen or so that i've tried look any good) so i can spend all day with the family tree finding out as many basic names and birth years as i can so that when i go to an essex library i have something to work from.

i can't wait to get going, i just hope my enthusiam and motivation for this can last.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The beeb are coming!

i didn't post about if before now because things kept changing and it seemed like it was going to be impossible to arrange a mutually convenient time.

Of an evening we've started watching The One Show on BBC1 at 7pm. A few weeks back they did a series on the brain and whether you had a male of female brain (regardless of your gender) and which brain was better at which type of things such as spacial awareness and map reading etc. As part of that they had a quiz to do online, so one morning i decided to check my brain out (according them i have a female brain) but while i was looking round their website i noticed a bit that asked for your views on certain topics and one of them was junkmail. this was very soon after my "bad day" so that was fresh in my mind and i emailed them telling them about that.

i didn't think anything more of if but the a couple of weeks later got a call from a researcher at the BBC. he originally wanted to come with the presenter Justin on the 29th, but obviously i knew i was in Kent that day. i did say i might beable to get back for early Wednesday morning, but after more thought i decided that wasn't sensible. after telling them that i was expecting them to say never mind, we've got other people we can interview/film. but no, he then suggested the tuesday the next week, the 6th and passed my details onto another collegue who was coming this way.

it then seemed like it was all going to fall through again when she called to say she couldn't make that day, but she did have yet nother collegue who was in Essex the week after. so thats where we are. however i was almost thinking that it wasn't going to happen again as i hadn't heard from this latest researcher. but she called at 7.30pm last night to see if it would be ok to come at 2pm not 1pm. which to be honest works better for me regarding lunch anyway!

so all i have to do in the next 6 hours is tidy the dining room tables, decide what to wear and make myself look presentable, which will take 6 hours alone! had better get started then.....

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Maths on my plastic, metal and glass recycling....

ok, so in the last post I worked out from my clubcard points (about 160 green points) that in the last quarter i've taken 640 items to the recycling centre!!

because its 4 items per point....

that means 640 items on 3 months.....

thats 213 per month....

thats 53 items a week....

thats a rough estimation of 7.6 items per day!

A further thought on plastic bags and shopping

well, it's friday which mean the weekly grocery shopping at Tescos.

i was trying to work out the cheapest way of buying the citrus fruit i like (large clementine/mandarins). they have the offer of 2 nets for £2 which usually give 8 - 10 fruit. but then there's the value citrus fruit net for £1.29. but then i thought about buying them loose and am going to look into the cost of that.

however one of the things that put me off buying loose is those stupid little clear plastic bags, great for lining the bathroom bin but we really don't need any more at the moment. then i thought about how many of those i use each week for the shopping. Pears, brocolli are two other we buy loose and also sometimes tomatoes. they provide paper bags for the mushrooms so that the mushrooms don't sweat - so why not use them for other veg - although the paper bags do have a plastic insert. i mean is it purely so the checkout people can see whats in them? if so what is the difficulty in peeking into the top of a paper bag.

however many young checkout teenagers don't even know what the fruit and veg are! i read on the BBC Food message board about one teenager asking a customer to confirm that what was in the bag was a leek! i can understand with the new exotic fruit and veg they may not know what they are (although surely if you work in a shop you should know the products they stock). for example plantains, moolis, eddoes, pomelos are some that i have had to explain to the person on the checkout.

anyway i'm getting side tracked, the point of my post was that today when i go to tescos i am NOT going to use any of those silly plastic bags for the loose fruit. but then i was thinking "how am i going to put the fruit loose in the trolley without it getting bruised and rolling around. so i think my plan is to put a basket on top on my trolley, or i may find a box home here to put in the trolley so they are separate. i think that makes more sense them i can simply take them home in that too.

maybe one day i'll have to guts to leave ALL the packaging at the checkout when i do the shopping......not in the near future i fear though. and anyway if they stop all the packaging how am i going to get my green clubcard points at the recycling centre? which of course then turn into vouchers which i am saving for a big treat i think rather than spend them on little things. In this last quarters statement i got about 160 green points which is all from the recycling centre at tescos. now its 4 items per point so thats 640 items!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Should we ban plastic bags? - The Wright Stuff topic

one of the talking points on The Wright Stuff today was "should we ban plastic bags?"

in my opinion - Yes! they had the lady in devon on the phone who got her village to ban them, the first village/town in the UK to do so. it turns out that she had been in hawaii which due to its location and ocean currents collects all the worlds waste on its beaches. the tourist beaches are cleaned regularly but the more secluded location are only cleaned once a year which results in 4ft (!!!!!) of plastic (mainly, as it doesn't degrade) lining the beaches. they now even have their own cloth bag design

one viewer sent in a text saying that they would miss plastic bags as they are good for cleaning up their dogs mess. well surely something like the cornstarch bags that they used in the village in devon would work just as well.

the only time we use plastic carrier bags is to line the bins. but we are almost at the end of our supply now that we have stopped gainig them from shops. the only time i ever get one is if i'm in a hurry or am distracted and don't realised that the sales assistant has put the item in a bag etc. the reason i think thats it taken so long to use up our "collection" is that now we have the 3 wheelie bins (brown for food waste - which is put in double lined envelopes that we recycle, green for other paper/card, black for non recyclables and i take glass, plastic, tins and cans to tescos recycling centre when i'm passing to get my green points!) we only have 1 maybe 2 carrier bags of rubbish per week.

i have a cloth bag and a plastic Bag For Life in my handbag, and if its only one item, like a net of oranges etc i will just carry it out of the shop after paying. i mean why do you need a carrier bag for one item??!!

it makes me wonder, having seen our own collection that we built up over the years, what people do with all their carrier bags that i see them taking their weekly shopping home in. before we started using our Bags For Life and Bag for Life wine carrier for our shopping we used our old carrier bags until they fell apart.

Lidls have been selling their plastic bags for a while i believe but as they are not one of the biggest supermarkets i think this seems to have gone unnoticed, as on today's Wright Stuff they mention how a major supermarket was going to start charging for their carrier bags, i think it was Marks and Spencer. Yet when you go to Lidls you see most people leaving with either cardboard boxes, which i recall my grandparents doing when i was younger or with their items loose in their trolley.

In April Sainsbury's banned carrier bags for a day.

Tescos recently took away their carrier bags from their checkouts and left it to the checkout assistant to give them out. i don't know if they are told how many to give out etc, but all you have to do is find an assistant who it having a bad day and doesn't care and once again you have more carrier bags given out than you need.

At the beginning of October there was an online petition to ban carrier bags, this was the governments response.

i would love to know what people do with all their carrier bags! please let me know!

Monday, 5 November 2007

A final day in Kent

well, having survived on my own for 2 days and despite feeling lonely i then didn't want to come home. after a final farewell to the other guests and including plucking up the courage to ask for a photo with Richard (came out a bit blurred but i felt rude asing for it to be taken again), i left and headed back into Whistable. i wondered round the town for a bit, picked up an electric coffee which for £3.45 as our old one has finally given up the ghost.

I had hoped to go to the East Quay shellfish bar for lunch, but it turned out that they only opened Thurdays, Fridays and Saturdays. so i thought maybe Wheelers again for a nicefish soup maybe..... but the don't open at all on Wednesdays. so i hunted high and low for somewhere for fish soup. Went into Birdies as they had Lobster Bisque on their menu - except they didn't have any that day.

so eventually i gave up as it was getting late, and settled for a Jacket potato and salad at The Whistlestop. great value at £3.10 but then again it was a basic (but very pleasant) place that did OAP deals for midweek lunches.

by the time i'd finished lunch and got back to the car it was about 3pm, so it was then time to drive straight to Bluewater. i had a wonder round all the shops, stopped at M&S to pick up a snack and a cup of tea, which i they managed to spill down me. then to dinner at Loch Fyne, where i really faniced a shellfish platter, however on their menu they didn't have the half platter like i had when i had lunch at the Loch Fyne restaurant on Loch Fyne. plus it what a lot more money that i would normally spend. but i sill have enough of the money that mum gave me (that grandpa gave to her) which was my budget for my meals, so i decided to have blow it and have a "last supper". the staff where suprised when i ordered it and said i could take anything i didn't eat home with me, as long as it was then eaten the next day it would be fine.

i was kind of pissed off the way the staff kept checking on me, i just wanted to enjoy my meal in piece but because of their fussing it was kind of spoiled. and the thing is what people don't think about is when you are presented with a shellfish platter how much of it you can't practially eat. think of a whole crab - how much of that is shell and how much is meat?

anyway i got my platter which included a whole crab, 3 squat lobster, 4 oysters, 3 langoustine, 3 crevettes (giant prawns), a ramekin of marinated squid and baby octopus, about 30 shell-on prawns and a bowl of cooked mussels and clams. and needless to say i wasn't going to waste it and once i'd got ride of all the shells, heads and skin etc i finished the lot, but then i didn't have anything else with my meal other than slice of bread either.

after dinner i drove the rest of the way home and was home by 9pm, as by that time the traffic was flowing easily. over all a good experience, if a little lonely. but then if i hadn't have gone i would never have met Richard Briers!

Halloween taken to extremes!

Something i found on the BBC News website:

i'm with the elephants! mine are in the garage stored in the dark and cool, waiting to be eaten!

L-R: my mini pumkin i grew this year, a 99p bargin from tescos and a home-grown that was for sale on mum's route home from work - again £1