Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bedazzled by the Sweet Sugary Goodness

Periodically (every Thursday, I think) a few market stalls are setup outside Sheffield's City Hall selling local(ish) food. The problem is that they are only just setting up when I pass on my way to work and have nearly all sold up and left when I head home. On the few occasions I've left work early for some reason I've been tempted by one stall in particular but it has never been the right occasion.

Last week the stalls were still there when I left work and I knew that any food I bought would get eaten, so I bought a box of four cupcakes from the Bedazzled Cupcakes stall. Unfortunately two of them got rapidly demolished when I got home and before I'd had time to find the camera! They were absolutely delicious and I wouldn't hesitate to buy more in the future.

Not Quite Time Team

When we moved in the main accessible area of the garden was just one large square of grass without any borders or interesting features other than a rusty old metal swing. We have quite a few plans for the garden but none of them involve a swing! So one of the first jobs this year was to remove the swing. I'd actually put it off a few times as I thought it was going to be quite a lot of work but on Saturday afternoon I was encouraged into having a go. Removing it was actually a lot easier than I expected.

I used a small hacksaw to cut the four main posts about a foot above the ground. I then started to cut it up further but my hacksaw blade broke so I resulted to trying to undo the very rusty nuts and bolts holding the rest together. After liberal application of WD40 and the production of a lot of sweat and tears I managed to separate the rest to make it easier to move and dispose of.

I then dug out the four poles which were buried in concrete. Two of them just pulled out (worrying really) but two required more effort and a spade to remove.

The last post I dug out seemed to have been set in a bigger chunk of concrete, but when I got it out it was obvious why -- it had been inscribed. So I now now that the swing was originally put up in 2002 and given that I know the names of the people living here before I even know who AS is. So not quite Time Team but interesting never the less.

So we now have a garden without a swing and can start making borders and putting in plants. Hopefully it will start to look more interesting than it did when we moved in.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Pippi Longstocking Coincidence

Statistics has never been one of my strong points but I'm willing to bet that the probability of the following two events occurring on the same day are astronomical.

I'm currently reading the first volume in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and on Tuesday morning was reading (among others) page 45 when I came across the following sentence: Somebody'd get a fat lip if they ever called me Pippi Longstocking on a newspaper placard. From the context I assumed that this was some reference to the dress sense or appearance of one of the characters. Given that the book is set in Sweden and I'm reading an English translation then I guessed that this was a pop culture reference that you had to be Swedish to really appreciate. I had got the general gist though and so didn't think anything more about it, until...

On Tuesday night we sat down to watch Episode 14 of Glee that had aired on Monday night on E4. Part way through one of the characters uttered the line: She looked like Pippi Longstocking, but, like, Israeli. Again it was obvious from the context that this was a reference to the way one of the characters dressed, but who on Earth is Pippi Longstocking? I'd assumed it was some obscure Swedish pop culture reference but here it is popping up in a mainstream American comedy drama.

So I turned to the fount of all human knowledge, Wikipedia, in search of answers. It turns out that Pippi Longstocking was originally Pippi Långstrump and has a Wikipedia page all to herself. She is the fictional creation of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and first appeared in a set of three books published in Sweden between 1945 and 1948. The books have been made into a number of TV programmes and films over the years both in Sweden and the US, which goes someway to explaining how she could crop up in two completely different places on the same day.

I still think the chances of me both reading and hearing a reference like this within a few hours of each other are minute, so I'm guessing it was just a coincidence and not the universe playing with my head!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

By Road and/or By Rail

Most mornings my journey to work involves a lift by car to the train station and then the train from Penistone to Sheffield. Maybe it would be more convenient just to use the same vehicle for both parts of the journey.

I spotted this road/rail vehicle in the car park at Penistone train station a few weeks ago. Strange really given that there is no way of getting the vehicle down on to the railway line at the station.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Back Fence

It is about 9 months since we moved house and for the first time last week I managed to get all the way to the fence at the end of the garden!I could see the steps leading up the slope through a lot of sharp, spiky shrubs but had no real idea what was right at the back.

We both took last week off work and for once the good weather coincided with us having time to do some gardening. So I spent quite a bit of time hacking a way through the shrubs so that I could follow the steps. It turns out that there is a two to three foot clear strip behind the shrubs before you get to the fence so the garden is even longer than we initially thought. We still have no firm idea of what we are going to do with the sloping part of the garden but at least we now have a much better idea of what plants are already there and how much space there actually is.

I would show you some more photos of the garden, but unfortunately they are still on my main PC which is currently in bits -- I was happily using it yesterday when it suddenly switched off, I think the power supply has blown but I'm hoping I borrow one from work to be sure before buying a replacement.