Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Hang on in there, or let go?

Hello. I had an unexpected letter in the post today, which has made me come over all nostalgic. I don't normally spend a lot of time looking back, much prefer to live in the now and enjoy the future, but the renewal form for my HGV and PSV licences has brought my past life into the foreground again.
The trouble with renewals like this is that it reminds you of how many years have passed, how old you are getting, and how little time you have left. Not something I wish to dwell on. I don't want to think that each day  passing brings me closer to death, I would like to live for a very long time. 
I renewed my licences the last time the reminder came, even though it was unlikely that I would need them again. I didn't want to let go of 'Ilona the Trucker', completely. But now I am thinking it might be the time to let go. I have reached the age when a renewal and medical is required once a year to keep the licenses. Although I am fit and healthy, and could jump in any lorry on the road and drive it, the law says I must cough up the dosh for a bit of paper giving me permission. A medical can be up to £150, though there are self employed doctors who will do it for less. I would need a new photograph, £5 in a booth, plus it's £17 for the new licence. Proof of identity has to be sent and my passport has run out. I have to get someone to sign that I am who I say I am. Is it worth it for just one year, when I might not need it. I'm in a quandary.
Maybe I'll look through some of my press cuttings. August the 4th 1976. Burton Daily Mail. My training lorry, a Ford 'D' Series with a flat bed trailer, with J Coates of Leicester.

December the 12th 1966. Derby Evening Telegraph. I was working for British Road services at Alvaston, Derby, driving a DAF 6 wheeler curtainside, on contract to Hazlewood Foods. 
Derby Evening Telegraph, April 23rd 1978. Driving a 4 wheeler rigid Dodge box van, for Nestle of Tutbury.

Can't put a date on this, I was doing agency work at Allied Brewery, and borrowed the lorry for the photograph. 
Another one with a borrowed lorry, I lived opposite the BRS depot.

This photo was included in the same article as Driving Ambition.

 An article about agency drivers in Trucking International.

Owner Operators was a paper for drivers who owned their own vehicles. I never did own one, but they included articles about all aspects of transport. I am working on the back of my low loader, putting the timbers tidy after unloading, getting ready to go to the next job. 
An article in Commercial Motor. Wearing a Lady Truckers sweatshirt, with my favourite lorry, an ERF. This was plated for 75 tonnes.

I made the front cover of  the United Road Transport magazine. Blimey, almost 21 years ago. At the time Rugby Cement were all owner drivers. I did their holiday relief, working from all four depots, Rugby, Southam, Barrington, and South Ferriby. It was bulk powder tankers carrying 26 tonne of cement. 
This is my favourite truck and the best job I ever had. I loved heavy and general haulage. Never knowing what you were going to carry, and not knowing where the work would take you. This was a water filtration plant, I took it from Gloucester where it was made, to Goole docks, where it was loaded onto a boat. It was 17ft 6ins high, and a lot wider than the trailer. Police escort most of the way. 
I am looking at these pictures and thinking what do I do now. My licence expires in six weeks, Do I build the cost into my budget and think what the heck, lets keep it, or do I follow my own rules of not looking back, but moving forward. Ironically, while I have been writing this a phone call came in, someone asked if I would do a trucking talk for their group. My name and number are still circulating even though I have turned down a lot of requests like this because it's been six years since I last drove a truck. We reached a compromise, I offered to do a 'Life after Money' talk instead, she agreed to that.

Talking of moving on, it's the last day of our Post Office today. In just over two hours it closes for good. I have been in to see Hilary, she is pleased she is retiring, and will get her house back. Things don't stay the same forever.

Some thought needed here. I will put the application away for a couple of weeks. When I read it first time I thought, nope, time to give up, but then I got these cuttings out and now I'm confused. I'll keep you posted.
Toodle pip

Monday, 30 March 2015

A busy morning at the Crafty Club

Hello. Crafty Club was busy this morning, Carol, our teacher gave us instructions for the next part of the project. First we had to iron a piece of  webbing onto the back of the sheet of paper. It makes it stronger so it doesn't tear, to enable stitching to be added. Next we were shown how to use some wax like crayons to rub over the surface, and we used our fingers, and a cloth, to make sure it was coated. The idea is to highlight the creases in the wrinkled paper. I used blue on mine but there were all colours. Some used the gold and silver which looked particularly nice. It gave it a sort of  embossed antique look. Now we have to decide what to make with it. Janet brought a book and is making a cover for it, and Avril has the idea of making a documents folder. I think I will make mine into a book cover, and make the book as well.   
I'm going to cheat a little bit here, and include some pictures of bags that Janet has made. These are not my bags, but they are definitely worthy of a mention. 
She bought the plain green fabric from the Scrapstore. I think it works really well to mix it in with the matching cat and dog fabric.

Her stitching is absolutely perfect, and she has used plain blue and green fabric for the linings.

Aren't they lovely. I think I will get my hand sewing machine out, because if I try and sew this neat the electric one runs away with me. I need to sew at a slower pace.

This is another bag she has made. Again the stitching is perfect. I like how she has chosen colours and patterns that compliment each other. 
The ribbon is machine sewn on, not one stitch out of place.

And lastly, she has been playing with felting and made this little bag.

Meanwhile I am still working on the landscape picture. In theory it shouldn't take long to complete, but I keep thinking of new ideas for it. It's hard work all this arty stuff, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in. I'll catch you tomorrow.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Searching for free crafting tutorials

Hello. My crafty friend Janet gave me a magazine called Craft & Click, The Essential Guide to Crafting Online. There are sections on Start Crafting Online, Social Networking, Create your own web site, Buying a Computer, and Buying and Selling Online. Whatever your crafting talent is, be it knitting and crochet, papercraft, cross stitch, or sewing, there are over 170 web sites listed to get you started with your chosen craft. How to build your own web site or blog, and join in with social networking with like minded people.

It's quite a pricey magazine at £7.99, there are 130 pages, but I can't see a date on the cover so I don't know if it is still in print. I wouldn't have bought it myself because there is a lot of stuff in there I already know, or stuff I don't need to know. It could be useful to anyone wanting to sell their work.

I've had a look through it for any web sites that might be useful, especially those offering free tutorials on how to make things. I was disappointed that several of the blogs listed have not been updated in a long time with no explanation of why. One had a post from the blogger saying it was to be the last post she was writing, she said goodbye to her readers. Some of the sites, were commercial sites, some of the blogs were marketing themselves and their products. They were touting for business, and loaded with adverts.

I did find one site that you might be interested in, Sew Mama Sew. Although it has adverts, you can ignore them, there are over 400 sewing tutorials and patterns. You might find something useful there. If you want to make a bag look at this page, 10 bags to make. If you want to make some quilt blocks, try Block of the Month. If you are considering starting your own creative business, look at Small Business Ideas.

I'll keep checking the rest of the magazine, and let you know if I find something that might be useful, and free,  to all you crafters out there. Don't forget, you can always check Yoootooob for free tutorials.

Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Scrapstore visit, and other stuff

Hello from North Lincolnshire on this blustery wet Saturday morning. I have not ventured out yet, when it blows over me and the dawg will go for a bimble around the church and back. He likes that. 
Yesterday we went to Hull Scrapstore, they were advertising an Open Day, with childrens workshops, artist studios meet the artists, and demonstrations. Worth a look and to support their efforts. Rocky is welcome there, they all make a fuss of him.
They have a yard out the back which must have been the old school playground. Plenty of space for large exhibits, it had a carnival atmosphere about it. These two played their characters amazingly well, don't they look lovely. 

Also making an appearance was The Gold Man, he didn't do much though, stood as still as a statue. Andy Train has a web site, this is one of his many jobs, he loves entertaining. Click on the link to see a short video.
How to turn a supermarket shopping trolley into a bird.

And another one. These models have been used for the Freedom Festival.

There were lots of books for sale, I picked out these three for £2. I fancy making a book, and another weaving project, and the pocket encyclopedia will come in very useful. 

Another 'pop into Tesco on the way back', got me a wholemeal loaf for 15p, yes I have the gall to walk out with just the loaf, not spending a penny more. The Spar shop gave me six eggs for 50p, a bag of salad for 50p, and a punnet of mushrooms for 35p. They will keep me going. 
Someone asked what is saag aloo, I didn't know what it was either, but with no meat and at 37p it was worth a try. It's an Indian dish of spicy potato and spinach, a perfect accompaniment to a plate of steamed veg. My kitchen ponged like a curry house for a couple of days, ha ha.  
Another plate of steamed veg last night. The last of the celeriac, cheap potatoes and broccoli, and carrots are a good price at the moment.

 I bought this little gizmo the other day, a mini processor for small quantities. I specifically wanted one for seeds and nuts. I often wondered if it is worth eating linseeds if they are going to come out the other end in exactly the same state as they went in the top. How can your body extract the goodness from them? It baffles me. As you can see this handy little gadget smashes them to bits. Now I can sprinkle it on my food, add it to fruit, porridge, to smoothies and home made veggie burgers, and the nutrients be dispersed around my body where it is needed. Makes the job much easier than bashing it in pestle and mortar. There will be more seeds going into my shopping basket from now on.

Bet you are wondering who this trucker chappie is. Dave is an avid reader of my blog, having remembered  me from the 1980's. He recollects meeting me in a transport cafe. I can't remember him as I met hundreds maybe thousands of truckers during my 32 years on the road. Of course I stuck out like a sore thumb, being the only female trucker on the park, who could forget me, ha ha. He also remembers me from the transport magazines because I often had letters printed in them, and articles written about me.  
Last night Dave sent me a text, he was delivering in my area, so a good opportunity to meet up for a chin wag while he had his break. It brought all the memories flooding back, we talked about how we both got our HGV driving licence, or first job, the types of lorries that we drove, and how things are much different now. His next drop was at Hull, then back home across the M62. It was nice meeting you Dave, and thanks for awakening my interest in trucking. You can take the woman out of trucking, but you can't take the trucking out of the woman, ha ha. 
Right, I must get on, things to do, looks like the rain has stopped. Thanks for popping in. Have a nice Saturday.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Last few pics of Sheffield

Hello. looks like a sunny day, so I'll rattle this one off quick so I can get out. Not more pics of Sheffield, afraid so. I took 90 altogether, a lot of them get dumped. Sometimes I go snap crazy, which makes it so much more time consuming when I come to sort them out, then load them onto here. 
Imagine walking down a street with a slope. Next to the pavement is a raised lawn edged with concrete, and in this is a channel of water running from top to bottom. The channel is inlaid with colourful mosaic, and the water runs away down a plug hole, to be pumped back up to the top again and so the cycle continues. It's lovely to see it glistening in the sun, it sparkles, and you can put your hand into it to cool down if the sun is hot. Lovely idea to add a bit of colour to an ordinary street.  

You might be able to read this if you click to enlarge it. It stands in the University area of the city.

The flats over there are in that painting on the previous post.
Snapping more buildings as I wander around.

Oooo, is that a Tardis I see? Where is Doctor Who?

Don't know who this chappie is, haven't time to look it up, someone might be able to enlighten us.

Ornate ironworks, shame about the plastic covered scaffolding on the building behind.

Love the cheerful colours on this building.

The trams are fab, they seem to be very well used, and run frequently. It made it so easy to get to the centre from the Park and Ride. 

Shame about this building being boarded up. Hope someone comes along to rescue it.
This looks very majestic, almost Palace like. Santander and Sainsbury's occupy the lower floor.

Hey, they don't build them like this any more, isn't it beautiful. I have a hankering to go inside these old buildings and have a good nosey.

Phew, that's Sheffield then, well some of it. Plenty more to see if you want to visit yourself. Get a map from Tourist Information and have your own bimble, if you are near enough.

Just before we got on the tram to go back we popped in a small Tesco store, to see if there were any yellow stickers. We were lucky there were. It was good to have a rummage. I spent £3.43 on potatoes, cheese salad, broccoli, prepared fresh fruit (plums, blueberries, and grapes), wholemeal bread, single cream, and saag aloo. Good haul, Janet was lucky, she got ready pastry for 15p.

Whats on the menu for today? I see the Hull Scrapstore has something on this afternoon, a trip across the bridge is a good possibility if I get my finger out and get organised. Catch you tomorrow.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Art in Sheffield

Hello. We woke up to rain this morning, and I am sure I have seen some sprinklings of snow. I remember Easter a few years ago when snow fell, so we are not out of the woods yet. Summer is just around the corner, but the great man in the sky has a habit of playing tricks on us. A day indoors I think today. 
I went to Sheffield hoping to see art, we trawled the galleries and found some. My preference is for contemporary and modern art, but understandably there was more of the traditional kind. I like to see something that stretches my mind, something that confuses me, and something that forces me to think outside the box. I've a few pics of my kind of art to show. 
Sheffield is the cutlery capital, the steel industry has been prolific in building the city's economy over the years. The Millennium Gallery has this amazing monument to steel, made of cutlery welded to a wire frame.

This decorative artwork encourages people to make a donation to the gallery.

One of the exhibitions in the Millennium Gallery is, 'Picturing Sheffield'. There are paintings from past and present, documenting  the regeneration of the city. The collection includes work by artists from the 1970's to the present day. It finishes on the 12th of April, so you have to be quick to see it before it closes. I like this one, big, bold, busy, and colourful. Here is a link to their web site.
Next stop was the Library, which houses the Graves Gallery on the upper floor. As you climb the stairs and look up to the skylight there appears to be a hundred birds floating in the air.

Looking closely, they are fringed squares of loosely woven fabric, folded corner to corner. As the warm air rises they look like they are floating.

This is amazing. A very large red canvas, the picture has been 'painted', with strands of beads, and chains, which have been left to dangle down to the floor giving the impression that the excess 'paint' has been allowed to dribble. 
A stunning piece of work, I love it.

In the same gallery are two large figures, this is one of them, both are holding a rifle.

As you can see all kinds of paraphernalia has been used in their construction. I am wondering if there was a plan for this work, or was it like stick this here and put that there, and see what happens. Hmmm, confusing.
Here is a link to the Graves Gallery.

Seen on the stairway of the Graves Gallery. So true. We need to have a certain amount of logic to get us through day to day living. I think I am a logical kind of person, but on the other hand too much logic can stifle imaginative thoughts. I am also a dreamer and like to let my mind wander to wherever it pleases. 
So, what are you? Are your thoughts always logical, or can you wander off the long straight path to explore either side of it. Do you like things orderly and straight forward, or can you cast off the shackles and let your mind fly freely? Let me know, I'm interested in how you think.

Thanks for popping in. The rain has stopped, maybe the day is going to turn out quite nice after all.
Toodle pip