Monday, September 01, 2014

I has been on a trip

I just spent 6 days in Kent visiting family and as I took a lot of photos I thought my trip would make good blog fodder.  And I've been reading a lot of lifestyle blogs recently, and I'm apparently quite impressionable..

Here goes.

My first thing to talk about are these wonderful earrings I got on Tuesday just before I left:
They are from Fabrication Unlimited, an Etsy shop based in the States, but postage to the UK is dead cheap and delivery was only a couple of weeks.  I considered asking for the lightning bolts in gold but decided I quite liked the silver effect.  As for the blue ones, well everyone needs a little bit of hope in their life.

Then I left, and left the earrings at home. As you do.

I spent Wednesday with my Dad and we went to Buttercups Goat Sanctuary in Boughton Monchelsea.  If you like goats, and in you are in Kent, you need to go.  There are oodles of goats. Big goats, little goats, lame goats, healthy goats, horned goats, sleepy goats, white goats, black goats, brown goats. Friendly goats and lazy goats.  I like goats, a lot.  I don't want to steal pictures from the website, but I urge you to go and look at it.  And check out the how to donate pages as well.

Then we went to the Three Chimneys pub in Biddenden.  We went by possibly the most circuitous route, as it appears my Dad isn't quite clear on the route to Biddenden, and when he was clear, I kept missing important turnings.  Sadly, once there, I could have no beer as I was driving.  So I had sausage and mash instead and it was good.  I had a lot of sausages this week.  Meatyrific.

On the Thursday me and my Mum went to Scotney Castle, a National Trust property that just so happens to have have hops farmed on it.  It also has some lovely gardens, and I found these sunflowers:
Hops are important in the ale brewing process and we went on a tour of the hop farm and learned about the growing and gathering process.  This is how hops grow:
Tasty hops.

It turns out that the farm has always kept a record of how many bales of hops were harvested each year.  It can vary a hella lot from year to year, dependent on the weather, as shown by these boards in the processing plant:
Some years (about a century ago) they only harvested about 61 bales. Other years they harvested closer to 500.  Can you imagine only producing a paltry 60 odd bales and having to make a living off that, for the rest of the year?

The tour included a walk round the farm to see where seasonal hop pickers lived, up until about the 1930s (I think).  They lived here:
These sheds used to have corrugated iron front walls, and would house between 10 and 15 people, of all ages, in double bunk beds erected against the side and back walls.  There wouldn't be room for much else.  That should give you an idea of the small size of them.  Some of the sheds were used by the same families, year in and year out, and still have the wallpaper put up by the families.  They cooked in a communal shed, opposite the living quarters:

This is a field we walked through towards the end of the tour:
Included because I think it's a nice photo and I'm usually crap at landscape photos.

They had beer samples at the end. I wasn't driving, so I did try them. The bitter was decent enough but the pale ale was much better. 

On the Friday morning, me, my sister, brother in law and niece went out for a fry up, at my suggestion, because I've been reading this blog and craving a Full English.  We went to The Rustic Cafe, attached to a garden centre, which I was dubious about, but it turned out to be bloody lovely.  The only things missing were black pudding and hash browns, but as I couldn't finish what I'd ordered maybe that was for the best.  The decor was nice. Our tablecloth was a map of the world:
On Saturday I went into Maidstone to meet friends and go to the comic shop.  I grew up in Maidstone and it was bloody weird being back, seeing all the changes.  I haven't walked round the town for about 5 or 10 years, and it's changed quite a bit.  It was really disorienting actually.  At the bottom of Gabriels Hill is a big retail space that used to be a newsagents.  It was where I went to buy UK reprints of Marvel comics and every time I went there and looked at the comics rack I was terrified I would be found out.  That someone would shout at me that these things weren't for girls.  Now that retail space is this:
How times change huh?  Maidstone is not quite the pit of horror that I remember, it has been cleaned up, but it still feels like a dump to me.  I guess it's impossible to get rid of emotional negative connotations.

I also visited Maidstone's actual comic shop, that I didn't go into at all until after I moved away (about 15 years ago).  The shop is called the Grinning Demon and it used to be on the High Street.  The High Street shop was a dark box and the few times I went in I was met with surly, grumpy, miserable staff.  The only good thing about it was that I got a copy of the first Peter David Supergirl trade in there.

Now the shop has moved to the Royal Arcade and it's magnificent!  The shop itself is light and airy.  They have tables outside and upstairs for gamers (card games, not video games).  They offer free tea and coffee to the gamers.  You walk in the shop and the owner (Graham, I think) asks if you need any help.  Have some pictures of the inside of it:

 (Local artists' work on the walls!)
They have a sofa (pictured above) which I took advantage of as I was very hungover and couldn't cope with other shops.  I just sat there for half an hour and the owner was cool with this.  I had just bought this lot of comics too, I didn't just wander in off the street and claim refuge:
Other things to note from my trip are:
This massive horse chestnut tree I found in Mote Park:
These beers that I drank (not all on the same night):

I got up on Sunday morning to discover the wire in one of my bras had worked it's way through the bra material, which was incredibly disappointing.  It's one of my better ones as it gives me shelf boobs.  I had this crazy idea that if I took both wires out it would be a useable soft cup bra.  Not so.  I think I need to learn more about bra machinery.

Finally, salutations to the very helpful gentleman who carried my suitcase down some steps on the London Underground.  I suspect he decided to help because I was limping, as my knee had decided to play up for that stretch of the journey.  Whoever you were Sir, I thank you!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Super Sexy Saturday

Bat/Wondy shipping is the best sort of shipping.

Anyone know where this is from?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wonder Woman Wednesday (with added Blackhawk)

Found this while hunting for everyday Wondy dresses.

It's from this website:

I want a subtle Wondy dress, so would look like an everyday piece of clothing, but is recogniseable as WW if you know comics or the character.  You know, like the Captain Marvel costume has been redesigned into everyday wear by the Carol Corps.  See these links if you don't know what I mean:

Something like for Wondy.  Has anyone seen anything like that?  Or can you think of any dress designs/patterns that would work, if I got the right material?  I guess I could just do a blue skirt/red top a la the lady in the picture, but I'd like something perhaps a bit more complicated than that.  I dunno.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Live fats die yoganu

So it turns out I have a dodgy knee.  I knew this because it occasionally gives ways on me when I'm walking, sometimes painlessly, sometimes with a great deal of pain.  Sometimes I even get the pain when it's doing it's expected thing of supporting the rest of my leg.  Lucky aren't I?

Anyway, because of this, both my physio and pilates instructor have given me a range of leg exercises and stretches to do.  I am doing them.  They help, a bit.  At least the pain comes less frequently when I do the exercises regularly.  Unfortunately it means that I cannot return to running.  The last time I tried a run - a very short one that was basic interval training - my knee then seized up and wouldn't bend for a week.  That hurt.  That hurt a hell of a lot.

I miss running.  I like the feeling of it, the way when you run you can't think about anything except how your breath feels and how your feet feel, and fall, and it's so bloody hard everything else gets shoved out of your head.  I don't get that from walking.  When I walk, even when I walk fast, it is usually a magnifier for my rage, and it is not a calming activity.

But, back to the point. Leg exercises and pilates.  Pilates is wonderful.  It's hard work, but it's making my torso muscles work in a way they haven't ever done before.  I can feel the difference between them now and when I started it 6 weeks ago.  I hope it will make me stronger and slimmer and I hope that it will kick start my dreams of getting a visible six pack (though I guess I'd better stop eating cake and lose at least another stone and a half before that becomes even the merest glimmer of a possibility).

Back to the point, again.  I haven't done any form of yoga in about a year.  I bought a yoga mat about 18 months ago, intending to use it outside in the summer, and failed to do so this year.  I now use it, rolled up, for one set of my leg exercises.  Having started doing this, I remembered how I used to do sun salutations and how I found them enjoyable.  So I looked up various guides for doing them and found this one:
Image found here.

So I just tried it again and discovered a couple of things.
The mountain pose, the lunge and the cobra all feel pretty good for my back and legs.
The whole thing made me feel more open and relaxed.

I'm now going to add it in to my regular stretches/leg exercises.  I'm hoping to do 2 sun salutations a day.  If I set my goals too high I'll be put off and won't do them. But two full sets, so two lunges per leg, I can manage.

I also want to try meditating again, but I'm scared.. I know it will be good for me, it will clam me down, make me focused, but I'm scared of the silence in the meditation session.  I prefer to be busy and full of distractions.  We'll see what I manage.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Super Silly Sunday

Perhaps this should be super slashy Saturday instead.
Can anyone tell me what issue this is from?

EDIT - Just found this (and others) in my draft posts folder.  Will be posting them over a period of a few weeks. They look to be about a year old.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wonder Woman Wednesday

By Andy Kappelusch.

EDIT - Just found this (and others) in my draft posts folder.  Will be posting them over a few weeks. They look to be about a year old.

Wonder Woman Wednesday

By Andy Kapellusch.

EDIT - Just found this (and others) in my draft posts folder.  Will be posting them over the next week or so.  They look to be about a year old.