That's the sound of the last week and a bit flying by!! So - here's a catch up.
As reported in the last entry - I went to Sheffield to complete my Christmas shopping and it nearly worked. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday basically confirmed how poor the facilities are in the centre of my home town. A couple of years ago, a grandiose plan to rebuild one of the main shopping areas was unveiled. Going by the name of Sevenstone, the idea was to demolish just about everything around The Moor and relocate the main markets to the bottom of The Moor.
Compulsory Purchase Orders were set up and everything from about halfway down, on the left hand side, was demolished. Then the recession hit. Plans were shelved until quite recently when a revised and reduced plan was accepted by the Council Planners. I believe building starts in 2013 but The Moor has gone from a bustling, busy shopping centre to a selection of "bargain" stores and it was announced a couple of weeks ago that Argos, Jonathan James (shoes) and LJ Jewellers are closing, leaving at least three more shop windows which will be filled with artistic displays mounted by local students and charitable organisations. (You can't buy anything in these "ghost stores" but the Council reckon it's better than having empty windows with "To Let" boards.)
Anyway - Chesterfield came to the rescue. I've said before that it is way better than Sheffield!
A relaxed Christmas came and went - nice pressies as ever but the nicest bit was the fact that we shared it with our son and daughter in law.
On Boxing Day, Belper Town played Sheffield FC and although I invited our son and his wife to come down to the Meadows, they suddenly remembered an "urgent appointment" and had to decline. Unfortunately, Belper were beaten 3-1 but the score doesn't truly reflect the game. Having taken the lead in the first half, Belper let Sheffield back in through a couple of defensive errors. In the closing moments, Belper hit the post and had another effort cleared off the line. I put the camera away before the end and missed the third goal but Tim Harrison did it again. Here's his excellent album:
Tuesday morning, Mark and D set off back to Rotterdam because they had an appointment on Wednesday morning to sign the papers for the new apartment they are about to move into.
We decided to try to cheer ourselves up by walking down through "The Ravine", a footpath through part of Graves Park to the local shopping centre at Woodseats. It was cold, but dry (and best of all, downhill all then way!) and I took a few shots.
Fungal growth on a fallen tree
Sure it's late December??!!
After another fruitless search for a bathroom floor covering we both liked at a local store, (Pyramid Carpets), we caught the bus back up the hill for a cuppa and feet up!
Another good afternoon on Wednesday. We drove out to Blacktoft Sands, an RSPB reserve near Goole. It was blowing an absolute gale so we didn't see much apart from a couple of swans out on the open water. The waves were like the North Sea! However, we were treated to the delightful sight of Marsh Harriers riding the wind over the reedbeds. A first for us but even though I had the big lens at full extension, they were just a little too far away to get a really decent shot. Here's the best of the day:
Beautifully marked Pheasant skulking in the grass by the hide
Lapwings battling the wind
Bobbing up and down like this!!
Lovely old church over the other side of the Reserve.
One of the best things about the day was the fact that when we got back to the car, windswept but relaxed, enjoying a cuppa, it started to rain! Not often we get that lucky. Usually, the rain hits when we're "between cover!"
Fish and Chip supper rounded off a smashing day.
Thursday - because of the awful weather, we never strayed further than Sainsbury's for bread and milk, until early evening when we went to the Bowshaw Carvery for dinner.
Friday - Sheffield Market first thing, supermarket done before lunch and like a fool, whilst the Duchess was battling through Morrisons, I put the car through the car wash which is why, 10 minutes after we arrived home, it started raining and it really ain't stopped since!
That's where we are now. The next football event is Ilkeston v Belper on Monday. Last day before back to work on Tuesday.
As I said at the start of this novelette - where'd it go??!!
Finally, if I don't get a chance before tomorrow night - just hope anyone who has taken the time to read this has a really good 2012. "Happy New Year!"