29 March 2011

It's very cold in Sweden

I had a work-related trip to Stockholm yesterday (it's not often I get to say that). It's an amazing place - but absolutely freezing still. There are a few signs of spring (crocus flowers were just peeking out in a few places), but here's the view from one of the bridges across to Gamla Stan - look at all the ice!

You could see all the frozen lakes/waterways from the plane on the way in, too - with a few channels through for the ferries.

Anyway, I had a good wander about central Stockholm for an hour in the sunshine, but then got too cold and had to retire to a cafe for coffee and cinammon buns. I've decided they might be the best bit about Sweden. I might have to make an emergency trip to IKEA for some more...

17 March 2011


Here's our pinhole camera image in all its glory - the streaks are the sun as it's moved across the sky over the last three months. You can see our back lane (and lamppost) quite clearly (our camera was fixed to the corner of our balcony). There used to be a few specks of mould, but they've been taken out in Photoshop.

Very impressed - it was just a beer can containing black and white photographic paper, with a teeny-tiny pinhole. Even more impressive, it was developed using a scanner (see www.pinholephotography.org for more info).

13 March 2011

Maker Faire 2011

We've been at the madness which is Maker Faire UK today. Robots, knitted neurons, firebreathing dragons, and more craft/tech nonsense than you can shake a stick at. It was fabulous - inspiring, creative and completely potty.

Here's Orb and M making a rocket:

And here's Captain Jack with the finished product: Thunderbird 27

More pictures to follow, including some amazing long exposures of us dancing with glow-in-the-dark bracelets/swords etc and the image that was developed from our pinhole camera!

09 March 2011

Alnwick Garden

We visited the Alnwick Garden last Saturday, as it's free until the end of March. Sadly, the fountains weren't switched on, but the garden was as beautiful as ever...and mostly deserted.

The cherry orchard. The bulbs are just starting to poke their leaves above the ground - in a month or so, it'll be gorgeous.

The walled garden was very peaceful, and surprisingly warm in the sunshine. I loved these tiny irises, which were nestled in close to the box hedges:

Cereal days

You may remember our views on breakfast - the three of us are big consumers of homemade marmalade, peanut butter and Marmite, and get through more toast in one sitting than a large toast-eating creature.

So it was quite interesting to be asked to roadtest some cereal recently - the new Superfruity brand from Shredded Wheat. I have to admit that I'm a fan of the plain, mini Shredded Wheats with lots of milk and a handful of raisins. But I've never really successfully got them into the small person - she's usually too busy eating granola and yoghurt or yet more toast. We were sent both boxes - the blackberry, blackcurrant and blueberry, and raspberry, strawberry and cranberry varieties.

And I have to report, that they're a success, for the small person at least. She's hooked on the raspberry/strawberry/cranberry variety (blackberry/blackcurrant/blueberry got the thumbs down), and has demanded them for the last week. As for me - I'm undecided. A bowlful is a bit much (they're quite sweet), but mixed in with the original variety, they're not bad. And it makes a change from toast...

01 March 2011

Spring planting

It's probably a bit early, but we couldn't wait any longer...

The rain in North Yorkshire...falls mainly on Whitby

It was a rather cold, wet and gloomy day in Whitby on Saturday. As we arrived, the rain was lashing down along the seafront, making all the bucket and spade shops look a bit bedraggled. I do like the 'kiss me quick' end of Whitby - the bit with the amusement arcades, ice cream shops and winkle stalls - but it did all look a bit damp.

Luckily, Whitby's absolutely stacked with fish and chip restaurants, so we found a nice one and ensconced ourselves with fish, chips, mushy peas and the obligatory cup of tea. There's something very comforting about sitting in a cafe with steamed up windows on a rainy day, I always think.

But Whitby's always fun, even in the rain. We saw umpteen gothic shops, walked past the very entertaining Dracula Experience, and found the best sweet shop in the world at the bottom of the Abbey steps (we can heartily recommend the chocolate fudge).

The sun finally appeared for 10 minutes later on in the afternoon - here's the playground up by the art gallery/museum, where we made the most of the non-deluge.

Budget for the day: £1.60 on fudge. We were taken out for lunch for the fish and chips - yeay!