The saddest news….

Hello to everyone who followed my Mum’s blog’s.  I had no idea she was so popular.  I am incredibly sad to inform you that my wonderful Mum has passed away.  She died peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday Morning 21st May 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

My name is Craig Dyson, Mum’s oldest son, and although I have no words to describe how sad we all are at her passing, I will try and do my best to do my Mum’s blog proud when bringing it to an end.

I have a confession to make that I did not even know she had done this blog and I have not even read anything from it as yet, but rest assured I will spend the next few days chuckling though it.  Her funeral will be held in sunny Brighouse on Monday 3rd June at 13:30.  My brain is fuzzy still, but I will let people know where the place is.  Anyway sorry to bring you all this news, I will try and compose something fitting to honour my Mum.

A foot themed day.

Yesterday turned out to be one of those days again. Analysing its contents I realised that it was for the most part, centred around feet. It began with this Granny trying her best to cut her very long toe nails. Toe nails that have during the course of her sixty six years turned from ordinary toe nails to something akin to steel.  Tried the nail cutters. No joy. Tried some scissors. They bent. Nearly went searching in desperation for a hacksaw. After resorting to using the very sharp (had horrible visions of being whisked off to hospital at this point with severed toe) kitchen scissors I somehow managed to make some headway and cut them shorter.

Continue reading

Just a short announcement


MVP I just thought that I would let all my friends on Windows Live know that last week I received the very welcome news that I have now been made an MVP in recognition of the help that I give via my blog posts on Windows Live to other users.

My very grateful thanks to those who considered that I was worthy of receiving this award and I shall continue to help others as much as possible on Windows Live both with using the website itself and also the Windows Live desktop applications.

Thank you.


Digg This

The Trouble with me is……………

Thinking I can’t seem to make my mind up about anything these days! I have become so indecisive that its beginning to really get me down. Quite when all this began I haven’t a clue to be honest. Was I like this before the menopause or has it reared its ugly head since then? Is it part of my depression or am I slowly going gaga? Trouble is I have such a lousy memory that I can’t pinpoint how long I have had this ‘shall I, shan’t I’ syndrome present in my usual repertoire of things that annoy me about myself.

An example of this is my blog. I have as many blogs floating around on the internet as most people have had hot dinners. Two are on Windows Live, one for my Geeky/Technical stuff and the other supposedly as a sort of online dairy. But I also do a duplicate post of that one to my long time blog on LiveJournal.  So that makes  three so far.  Recently  I have been trying to make up my mind whether or not to actually move to either Blogger or WordPress and close down some of my other blogs, but…..I would then need to find some way to gather readers, I have quite a following for both of my blogs on Windows Live, and to be honest, although it is there primarily to sift out the spammers, I hate the hurdles you have to jump in order to make a comment on Blogger!

You can’t win can you? Make it very easy for everyone to comment on your blog and risk tons of spam a la Windows Live Spaces, or verify everyone with ‘Capcha’ to keep the spammers out.  Decisions decisions! I know this, I can’t keep up with all these blogs! Something’s gotta give but what to do?  And why oh why can I never seem to come to a final decision about anything these days?

Even if I do make a choice I am then forever wracked with ‘did I make the right choice or not?’ and then inevitably end up changing my mind! What’s the answer before I drive myself completely insane?

Will I, won’t I? Shall I, shan’t I? Left or right? Black or White? Hot or cold? Or am I just old? You decide! Confused

TG Eye-rolling

Another enjoyable walk along the canal….

A Canal boat makes its way out of the lock We have just returned from another very enjoyable walk along the canal side with our friends from CREW. We all met up at the car park in town at 10.30am where firstly studied the provided Menu for our intended meal at the end of the walk, and made our choices for our lunch. That done, we all set off at a brisk pace by joining the canal towpath at the nearby bridge. It was an absolutely breathtaking day weather wise, blue skies, nice warm breeze, perfect conditions for an enjoyable hike along the canal in fact.

You will recall that K, J and I had already done this route some few weeks back when it was a lovely day where we went all the way along the towpath to Elland.  This time, the Crew group were not intending to go that far as we would need to return to where  everyone’s cars were parked  and also return back to town where our lunch was booked.  Its a very enjoyable walk as there are some stunning views to the right as you walk along the canal where the woods cover the side of the hill. The plan was to walk up to opposite Park Wood and then turn around and make the return journey back to town.  As usual K attached herself to the nearest person that would allow her to hook up and have a natter with, whilst I spent the walk taking pictures and/or conversing with whoever happened to be walking nearest to me at the time. I love this part of the canal, with the river Calder on the left of you and the fishing lake and stunning wooded hillside on the right.


We soon arrived at the turning point where the walk leader held a hasty discussion about whether or not we took a ‘detour’ route back or just simply returned the same route that we had just walked.  Most opted to go back along the towpath which we did, although we did decide to make a slight detour through the wooded area between the canal and the river. K had to stop and lean on me at one point when she got a stone in her shoe. As usual as we neared town on our return she suddenly ditched her latest escort and speeded past everyone in order to make a bee line for the pub where we were to have our lunch.

The old ship inn This was the The Old Ship Inn where we have enjoyed having a lunch following one of our walks before. Most of us had chosen to have the same meal, a delicious Chicken and Bacon Salad which we all really enjoyed. K was treated to a Chocolate Heaven dessert again by R  so I took some pictures of her devouring it at the table.  The meal was washed down with two glasses of White Zinfandel (me) and  a glass of White Zinfandel followed by half a shandy (K) When we had finished our meal,  R offered to run us home which elicited a sigh of relief from K as I had been toying with the idea of walking home, and she eagerly  accepted his kind offer. The meals in the Old Ship Inn are absolutely delicious and well worth partaking in, I thoroughly recommend paying it a visit if you ever happen to  find yourself moseying around our little town.  All in all, a wonderful and very enjoyable walk in beautiful weather, ending in a equally enjoyable meal.


TG  plate  beer

Another walk in a different direction..

The Lockkeepers Cottage It was such a beautiful day yesterday that rather than waste it we decided to go on a canal walk of our own beginning in our little town and walking in the opposite direction towards Halifax.  We joined the canal towpath a short distance from town where the little lockkeepers cottage is situated. Lot’s of other people had the same idea as us, and there were plenty of walkers and bicycle riders (plus one guy out jogging) taking the opportunity to enjoy the summer sunshine.

As is usual along the canal, there were lots of narrowboats travelling along and also lots of fishermen sitting quietly at the side of the canal patiently waiting for a bite. The new David Bailey aka J accompanied us again and insisted on snapping everything in sight including moving into lots of my intended shots of the surrounding area.  He frightened us at one point by disappearing into the side wooded area to take some shots of the river which runs adjacent to the canal. He had been gone for ages, and as is usual for this Mum (despite the fact he is now 26 years old!) I panicked thinking he might have fallen down into the river, it’s quite a steep drop where he had chosen to leave the towpath in order to make those ‘cant miss’ taking a photograph of that shots. Besides which K and I couldn’t have rescued him if he had fallen in! He eventually emerged unscathed thank goodness and we continued along the towpath.

From one of the canal locks Everyone we met along the way smiled and greeted us with ‘Good mornings’ and conversation.  How different everyone seems when the sun is shining! Most were dressed appropriately in t-shirts, shorts and cool summer clothes. One fellow had a nifty sunhat that resembled one that an Australian person would wear with the corks hanging down.  As is often the case near water it felt cooler walking along the towpath.  We had the canal on the right hand side, and the river on the left with the cool shady trees in between. There are also quite a few locks to go  past and we  also saw two more lockkeepers cottages which were both sadly boarded up.

“I’d love to do that little cottage up” I said, “It would be so lovely living here at the side of the canal, so peaceful and quiet.” What a shame that they have been abandoned.

It was quite a walk, and K was unusually quiet.  So quiet in fact, that even J noticed she wasn’t herself. I kept asking her if she was okay, but she said she was.  She made J and myself laugh though during one of our forays into the wooded area to take some pictures of the waterfall on the river. Earlier whenever we passed one of the men fishing on the canal, I reminded J and K to be quiet or they would frighten the fish away, so when we entered the wooded area, we took a few photographs of the waterfall then turned around to return to the towpath.  As we returned K stepped on a twig which snapped under her foot. “Sorry I trod on a stick!” she said.  It sounded so funny as we were obviously miles away from any of the fishermen!

Eventually we arrived at some civilization where an inviting public house called aptly the ‘Barge and Barrel’ was situated and we all had some lunch. I had a beef stew (without the accompanying large Yorkshire pudding of course) and K and J both had a Chinese chicken wrap with chips, all ably washed down with shandy for K, ( tell you she wasn’t herself. Shandy?)  a glass of white wine for me and a pint of Fosters for J.  Following that excellent and welcome meal to finish off our enjoyable walk we caught the bus home.  I so enjoyed the walk. It was a long way, but a wonderful way to spend a glorious summers  day.

TG Open-mouthed

Our walk along the Canal.


On Saturday we went for one of our walks with Crew.  We were again offered  a lift by R to where the walk was to begin in Mirfield and we all met up in the car park.  Everyone then had to decide what they were going to order for our lunch in the pub after the walk, I ordered Roast Turkey and Yorkshire pudding (which of course I wouldn’t be able to eat, wheat, gluten etc) and K ordered Beef Lasagne and chips.  D then rang the public house and put the whole order in so that it would then  be cooked ready for us when we all piled into the pub at the end of the walk.

The beginning of the walk

That accomplished we all set off.  It was a beautiful day weather wise, not too warm (you soon get warmed up walking!) and everyone was in very good spirits.  K hooked up with R’s wife rather than walk with me (she is no fool, she hates my speed of walking and would rather stroll at a more leisurely pace hand in hand with anyone who will take the time to listen to her, as usually from the beginning of the walk to the end she usually never stops talking, which really explains why her pace is always so slow as she hasn’t seemed to conquer the ability to walk AND talk at the same time! ) smile_teeth

Luckily for her the others don’t seem to mind her clinging on to them for the duration of the walk, if they did she would have to walk with me and stay silent whilst keeping up or alternatively  I would have to slow to a snails pace as usual.  The other members  have told me to walk ahead and not worry about her staying with them as she tells them her life history, and although I don’t really like doing this R has said ‘Look these walks are to help you relax, give you a break, so we don’t mind taking her off your hands whilst you walk on ahead.’

Of course there is also the photograph taking that I love to do along the way as well, and as K (and her current listener) are usually some way behind me, it does give me the chance to take pictures of her coming towards me in the distance.  Strangely enough as we reached the end of the walk (and therefore began nearing  the public house where we were to consume our meal) K suddenly decided to abandon her ever patient escort and sprang into quite a swift speed of walking (all thoughts of talking or any loyalty to her patient listener now obviously forgotten  as she had a different goal in mind!)  where she actually passed me at one point!  And I took a picture to prove it!

It’s funny how peaceful it all seems when you walk along a canal or waterway.  We are going to take a canal boat ride later in the year, and we saw the basin where we will all be meeting up to climb aboard the narrowboat, but that won’t be until September.  By the time we reached the pub we were all ready for our meal.  A table had been reserved for us, and the meal was absolutely delicious and one of the best that we have had so far, and we were all agreed about that.  The waitresses were attentative and the meal itself really good.  The wine that K and I had went down well too, so much so that we ended up having quite a few glasses of it and exited the pub feeling quite tipsy!  It was in a small bottle (about two glasses full) and was a White Zinfandel Californian wine by Stowells. (Although funnily enough it wasn’t white but rosy, well unless I was more tipsy than I thought!)  We enjoyed it so much that we are trying to get our hands on some but neither Tesco’s nor Sainsbury’s in town sell it.

We all returned to the car park and were soon back home where both of us went for an afternoon sleep! beer Hmm.  I am beginning to think that these walks might not be quite so healthy for us after all!

TG  smile_omg 

My Head’s Spinning with this Recycling!

Remember not long ago when we were discussing waste and I commented that we didn’t have Wheelie bins in this vicinity?  Hmm.  Well as usual as soon as Technogran opens her big mouth, we have all been issued with a plethora of assorted containers, bags, boxes and yes, a Wheelie bin!  Will I ever learn to keep my big mouth shut!  Anyway, I am now having nightmare’s about the whole thing, terrified I suppose that if we get it wrong (in one nightmare I actually dreamt that they were going to fine you £1000 if you lost your Wheelie bin or put the wrong rubbish into the wrong container!) we will be carted off to jail or fined.

You have to remember everyone, what a dippy person I tend to be at the best of times, I have a mind like a sieve and trying to make head or tail of the relevant instructions that came with all the receptacles has been an absolute nightmare.  Not only that, because of my previous incident with the ‘black box’ walking off into the wild blue yonder I am very reluctant to leave anything outside in case it walks off as well.  Previously  to the arrival of all  the new containers we had our old metal dustbin, one black box and a green bag. The black box was stored at the top of the stairs with the green bag inside it for safekeeping and then just carried outside on the day of collection.

White bag contents Now we also have a white bag (meant for plastic bottles without tops) a brown bin for kitchen waste with a smaller bin (now christened by myself as the ‘slop bucket’) for the same, and a large Wheelie bin which of course has had to remain outside or K and myself could not get in the flat. To make sure that some person doesn’t waltz of with the latter, I have firmly wedged it into the area next to my old refuse bin so that although if they were determined enough they could move it, it would take some effort on their part and hopefully they would get fed up of trying to dislodge it and decide that taking a neighbours bin would take far less effort.

The medium sized brown bin (referred to by our council as a caddy LOL) is for any food waste and contains a roll of plastic bags which you are supposed to place inside the small kitchen caddy (their description as previously stated mine is ‘slop bucket’) which to confuse matters says on the side of it NO PLASTIC BAGS in very large letters. Then when the forbidden plastic bag is full, you then tie it up and place it in the larger caddy (hitherto christened the larger slop bucket) where it will remain until collection.  All food waste is to be placed inside this including tea bags, uncooked food, leftovers etc, and here is one area where K and I keep slipping up badly. Remember folks we are new to all of this, bad habits die hard, and we have become so accustomed to depositing practically everything into our kitchen waste bin, that I have had to constantly be fishing around inside it this week in order to retrieve wrongly placed items out of there and into their respective proper containers.

Brown slop bucket The biggest problem is space. The top of the steps now resembles a junk yard with the black box, green bag and now a white sack taking up most of the room. The aforementioned white sack is for plastic bottles (but not with tops, NO tops, plastic detergent bottles and cleaning product bottles and shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles ONLY, and again K and I keep slipping up with those items as well.  The black box has now been reassigned to ANY glass container except window glass, crockery, broken glass, Pyrex glass or wait for it, mirrors.  Quite what you do with any of the latter is not actually explained.

It’s literally all driving me insane. I am a recycling nervous wreck ! Don’t forget that besides having to learn all of this myself which with my memory is no easy task in itself, I also have to learn K where everything should now be deposited (hence my forays into our kitchen waste bin for discarded plastic bottles etc.)  What I want to know is this, how come it has ended up being all down to us the humble householder to sort out?  I don’t remember any of us asking for all this plastic packaging do you?  Or requesting that we all do away with our open fires on which the vast majority of all this refuse would have been burned?  Speaking of which, has global warming been halted by us all doing without our open fires?

And remember that when we did all have open fires, there wasn’t all of this packaging being used anyway.  Please don’t misunderstand me, I am all for recycling but…. as is often usual with progress, we tend not to think things through long term. We got rid of all household use of open fires because it supposedly was bad for the environment  and in the process disabled a means for every household to get rid of a lot of their waste, then we begin to increase dramatically the use of plastic and packaging as a whole which then has to be disposed of somehow.  Think about it all.  Sometimes decisions made by those who supposedly are trying to improve everyone’s life turn out to cause more problems than they solve.

Our new improved recycling service So back to our own personal recycling. Its the first day tomorrow and for us, week A when brown caddy, white sack and black box will have to be placed outside at the end of the path for collection. This will then be followed by week B when the Green bag, brown caddy, white sack and grey wheelie bin will be collected and emptied. What’s betting I either put the wrong receptacles out or miss the collection?

If you don’t hear from me after all this you will know that either I have been carried off for getting it all wrong or alternatively been carted off to the local psychiatric hospital  as a gibbering wreck!

TG  Angry

Our Day at Skipton Castle.

Yesterday morning we set off on a grand day out to Skipton Castle.  As per usual I had done my homework by accessing  the Metro site and printing out a ‘journey planner’ so that we knew times of trains, buses and routes to take. After a discussion on the weather outside which was still quite nippy at 09.00am, K decided to wear her sheepskin coat and  I decided to wear my thick lined jacket and even J, who had  graciously decided to accept our invitation to accompany us on this day trip, was wearing his hat and warm raincoat. We caught the bus to Bradford and from the Interchange made our way across to Bradford Forster Square in order to board the 10.45am train to Skipton.

It was a very pleasant journey to Skipton via Shipley and Keighley on one of the electric Siemens trains that run on that particular route, and by the time we reached Skipton the sun was out, the grey skies had disappeared and it was beginning to feel quite warm. We decided to abandon the aforementioned journey planner following  consulting a resident passer by about the actual direction and walking distance to the Castle. She insisted that it was straight ahead and that we would then be able to spot the Castle and main square to our left, and added that it would only take us about 10 minutes, so we set off and walked there instead.

The Main Gate, Skipton Castle It was market day and the main street leading up to the Castle where the market is housed was jam packed with people. We made our way up to the Castle entrance gates, paid our entrance fee (Skipton Castle is not a National Heritage site, so K’s membership was of very little use here!) We were given some ‘Explore Skipton Castle’ sheets which helped you to focus on particular areas of interest during your visit to the Castle. J in his usual fashion duly elected himself as chief Castle tour guide for the duration of our visit. K in the meantime was more interested in the Tea Rooms which were housed conveniently just inside the main gate entrance. (never changes does she, in fact I think in hindsight she would probably have been quite happy for me to park her here with a drink and something to eat whilst J and I did the Castle tour without her!)

First stop was the 700 year old Chapel of St John the Evangelist which is now just a shell.  It is stood slightly apart and to the left of the Castle entrance. We had a look around and I took some pictures of the ancient font and the chapel window with the light shining through it, then we made our way into the Castle itself.  900 year old Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved mediaeval castles in the whole of England.  It is fully roofed and is in remarkably good condition. I took loads of wonderful pictures inside the Castle, of the windows, the slots in the walls for the archers, the great hall, the bedchambers, the kitchens, I love looking around Castles and trying to imagine what life was like in those distant days. I even took one of K sitting on the ancient loo which emptied down into the moat outside! (well it is her favourite seating area and her ‘throne room’ at home!)

There were, as is usual for Castles, lots of stairs to climb both up and down, so K was muttering and grumbling to herself as usual. When J and I descended into the dungeon to take a look down there, she remained upstairs looking down at us.  It was only a very small dungeon, just one room that was all, so she didn’t really miss much. In the middle of the Castle courtyard was a Yew tree that Lady Anne Clifford planted as a sapling after her restoration of the Castle in 1659. It was all very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  By the time that we had visited every part of the Castle it was dinner time, and so after visiting the gift shop for the obligatory fridge magnet for me and the equally obligatory pen for K, we went into the tea rooms for something to eat. There were many paintings hung on the walls of the tea rooms, and we were sat next to one which showed the whole Clifford family.

Following our dinner, we then paid a visit to the church which is next door to the Castle where we looked at the tomb of Sir Clifford before continuing down the road to the bridge where we began our walk through Skipton Woods. By this time it was really warm and poor K had to carry her sheepskin coat over her arm which really didn’t help with her walking. We really were regretting taking any notice of  the old saying around these parts, ‘don’t cast a clout till May goes out’  Perhaps now with global warming we need to change it to ‘don’t cast a clout till March goes out!’  It was a very pleasant walk indeed and took us behind the Castle, past quite a few waterfalls and a fishing lake before doubling back along a higher path where it emerged  onto the main road where we made our way back down towards the Castle.

Skipton boat trips There were also boat trips which seemed highly popular as quite a few passed us whilst we were passing above the river and there were a lot of people on board enjoying the boat ride in the spring sunshine.  We took a different route back towards the train station in order to take  in some of the town itself and the shops, which is why we ended up sampling a tub of ‘Yorkshire Dales’ chocolate ice cream as a treat and to help sustain us on our return journey home. Following our arrival back at Skipton station, we didn’t have long to wait before our train pulled in and were soon on our way home.

I thoroughly recommend a visit if you are ever in Yorkshire, it is a very pleasant town and the Castle is well worth a visit, as is the rest of the town itself.  If you enjoy walking as we do, then do take in Skipton Woods as well. It’s a very interesting walk to do with plenty to see and photograph. If you are more the leisurely sort then maybe the boat rides are more in your style?  We all enjoyed our visit to Skipton, the weather turned our to be fantastic (as you can see by the pictures I took) and we will certainly be making this visit again soon.

TG  Open-mouthed Camera