Friday 28 November 2014

Norfolk - Sandringham Christmas Craft Fair

We wanted to squeeze as much out of our week's holiday as we possibly could and Martin and I decided that we would stop off at the Sandringham Christmas Craft & Food Fair on the way home from our week in Norfolk.

We were really glad we did.  Whilst we did have to pay £6.50 each to get in, there was lots to see and we did pick up a few bits and pieces.

There were loads of different crafts, and food, on show and it was good that the stalls weren't all repeated. Sometimes at this kind of fair there are only a few different things on show, that wasn't the case here.

There was all sorts on display and some of the craftsmen were actually working on the site.
We were particularly taken with the chocolate stall.  There were all sorts of different things made from chocolate and all were made to look like rusty old metal.  It was fascinating.

Not quite so fascinating were the rural facilities!!

At least we were there quite early on in the day!

After a good walk round we decided to head for the warmth and comfort of the Sandringham Estate Visitor centre for lunch, which was excellent and just what we needed on a cold Winter's day.
It was then time to finally call time on our week's holiday and join the Friday traffic in heading for home.

Norfolk - Felbrigg Hall

It was the third full day of our week away in Norfolk, with friends and family, to celebrate my 50th birthday. Today we said goodbye to Lesley and Tom, who were heading back home.

Martin and I had a two mile walk around the Felbrigg Hall Estate planned, where we would be picking up a series of 10 Geocaches, if all went to plan.  Mum and dad and my brother David and, his girlfriend, Alison, decided to join us for our walk, so six of us set out for Felbrigg.  We were well booted up as we were expecting plenty of mud.

We had a really nice walk around the Estate, which is owned by the National Trust.  Sadly the Hall wasn't actually open today, so we couldn't have a look round inside.

The walk took us past the Estate church, through fields of cows and sheep, around the fishing lake and through a field where there was a very friendly horse, which really took to Alison, after she shared her apple with him.

As we exited the field the horse got a bit frisky and galloped back across the field, right towards a group of school children.  All we heard was a scream of 'get back' from the teacher and we saw children scatter in all directions.  We thought the horse was just thinking that more apples might be forthcoming!

In the end a National Trust chappie had to come and keep the horse calm whilst the children made their way across the field.
We finished our walk, having bagged the full 10 caches and headed back for Incleborough.

We spent our last evening in the local pub, The Dozy Dormouse, which we could walk to, which was great.  We had a lovely meal and then wandered down to the beach to try and set off a Chinese Lantern, which David and Alison had bought me for my birthday.  As you can see, we didn't have all that much luck!
We'd all had a really great week away together, enjoying each other's company, the Norfolk Coast and the comfort of Incleborough House.  Tomorrow it would be time for us to head for home.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Norfolk - Cromer

The second full day of our holiday found us just along the coast in Cromer.
It was really bright and breezy, so, though cold, it was a lovely day. The last time Martin and I visited Cromer it was the greyest of days, so it was nice to see the pier and the coast with a bit of sunshine. It made all the difference.
What a Difference a bit of Sunshine can make!

We had a good wander out along the pier and round the town, before heading into one of the local hostelries for a quick one before heading back to Incleborough House, where this time, Carol's Chicken Pie was on the menu and very nice it was too.

Real Men don't Shop!
But they do eat Cromer Crab!

Carol's Chicken Pie

Now, how long does a pie take in an aga?
This is a recipe that I've been wanting to share with you for ages, but the timing's never worked out quite right with the cooking and the taking of photographs.

Even now, there isn't a photo of the pie cooked! It was just too chaotic a mealtime to remember to take that final photo.

I made this pie filling up ahead and froze it.  I then took it away with us on our week away in Norfolk and just tipped the filling into the pie dish and topped with frozen ready rolled pastry.  How easy was that!!

It was delicious and the filling did not spoil in any way for having been frozen beforehand.

Serves 4
Ready in 90 minutes

85g plain flour
Half tsp cayenne pepper
Half tsp white pepper
500g skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 leeks, thickly sliced
Button mushrooms, whole, as many as you like
2 garlic cloves
100ml white wine
250ml chicken stock
142ml carton double cream (or creme fraiche)
140g frozen peas
2 tbsp tarragon, either fresh or dried
Handful of parsley, chopped
500g block ready-made puff pastry
1 medium egg, beaten

Mix the flour, cayenne pepper and white pepper in a large sealable food bag.  Add the chicken pieces. seal the bag, and shake well to ensure all chicken pieces are well coated.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over a high heat, until the button starts to foam.  Fry the chicken pieces for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown.  You may find it easier to cook your chicken in batches.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat.  Cook the leeks and garlic until the leeks begin to wilt, add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a few minutes longer.  Add the wine and boil for one minute, then pour in the stock and the cream, or creme fraiche, and simmer for five minutes.
Add the cooked chicken, peas, tarragon and parsley and cook for a further minute.  Leave to cool.

Preheat a baking tray in the oven to 220 degrees or 200 for a fan oven.  Roll the pastry to £1 coin thickness and use to cover your pie.  I always use ready rolled puff pastry here and I must confess to only putting a pastry top on my pie.

Brush the pastry top of the pie with beaten egg and cook on the pre-heated baking tray for 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is hot.

I served my pie with roasted butternut squash and red onions, parmentier potatoes and Brussels
sprouts.  It went down a treat.

Monday 24 November 2014

Reaching 50!

Well, I can't quite believe it and I certainly don't feel it, but I'm now eligible to join the 'Over 50s' club.  I can get Saga life insurance and will start getting junk mail advertising Stana Stair Lifts. Oh happy days!

Martin and I had decided that we would celebrate my 50th birthday with pretty much the whole family and a couple of really close friends, with a Monday to Friday stay, at the very lovely Incleborough House, in East Runton on the Norfolk Coast.

As we weren't able to invite all of our friends we were also topping and tailing the week with Saturday nights out with good friends, both before and after we went away.

We had a lovely meal out at a very nice Italian, quite close to home, on the Saturday night before we went away, with Jackie & Phil and their son Chris and his girlfriend Jenny.

We were also meeting up with Jo & Steve and their girls Hannah & Megan on the Saturday that we got back.  We were going to one of our favourite places, which is quite quirky, a French Creperie, again not too far from home.  It was going to be a week of eating out and catching up with everyone.

We all arrived in Norfolk on the Monday evening and all got very well settled in before sitting down to eat a chilli, that I had pre-prepared and brought with me, with jacket potatoes cooked in the aga. We followed this with tiramisu and lemon meringue pie, both shop bought, so no recipes to share I'm afraid.

There were 10 of us in total, mum and dad, Sarah, my sister, and Mark, her boyfriend, David, my brother, and his girlfriend, Alison and our good friends Lesley & Tom.  I used to go to school with Lesley, so she really is my oldest friend and she was a;so 50 last month.

We had a good old night just sat at the huge dining room table in the conservatory, just chatting, playing games and, I must confess, there was a bit of drinking going on too.

Before we knew it, it was 1.30am and we all decided to call it a night - most of us are normally in bed really early, so this was a huge achievement.

On my birthday morning we all had breakfast together, in the conservatory, cooked by David, my brother, which was a very nice treat and all went to plan.  David is not normally known for his cooking skills, but breakfast is his specialty, and this was a real treat.  I think he quite liked the aga too.

David & Alison had also decked the conservatory out with balloons and other bits and pieces and it looked really pretty when we went in.
After breakfast there was lots of present opening, which was interrupted by the cottage owner popping round to say that he'd had a complaint from the neighbours about us being noisy until the small hours.  Whilst this did take the shine off the morning for a bit, we were soon laughing about it - imagine - us lot getting into trouble for acting like rowdy teenagers.

Whilst the pictures below aren't technically that brilliant, I do think they capture the spirit of the moment!

After breakfast we all headed into Sheringham for a bit of Geocaching, which was quite an event. We all wandered round the town looking for clues and debating the answers, with a bit of Christmas shopping thrown in for good measure.

With so many of us, things took longer than they normally would so we didn't manage to complete as many caches as we had planned, but we did do three, which took us on a good old walk round the town, along the coast and made sure that we got to see some cool artwork, before retiring to the pub for a quick one before heading back to Incleborough House for a soak in the hot tub.
We had a real picky tea.  Dad BBQ'd sausages and burgers and we also cooked some pizzas, which we had with lots of salad.  It was just the job and another nice and easy meal, with everyone mucking in.

After tea, I had a real surprise treat, with a 50th birthday cake which Lesley & Tom had organised for me.  It was pretty darn cool and seemed to incorporate the majority of my Life of Pottering, as you can see.

All in all we'd all had a great day and I'd had a great birthday and there was still an evening of games to come, including a pretty cool music quiz that Alison had put together for us.  You would have thought they would let my team win wouldn't you, after all, it was my birthday!

Incleborough House - East Runton - Norfolk

How many of us went?
10 Adults

How long did we stay?
4 Nights - Monday to Friday

When did we visit?
17 - 21 November 2014

How much was it?

Who did we book with?
Luxurious Cottages

What were our initial impressions?
Impressed!!  This is one place we've stayed where the property completely lives up to the brochure and website's claims.  On arrival it looked just as we expected.

We were greeted by Nick and Barbara, the owners, and had a very comprehensive welcome tour of the house, which covered off everything we needed to know about all the facilities that were available, and there were plenty of them.  A huge aga in the kitchen, 3D TV in the lounge, a pool table, Wii and PS3 in the games room and a BBQ and huge hot tub outside.

The welcome pack was the best we've ever seen and included a home made Victoria Sandwich, a tin of home made rock cakes and two loaves of bread, freshly baked that morning. There was then more than sufficient sausages, black pudding, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes for a full English breakfast for the whole of our party. There was also a huge bowl filled with fruit of all kinds, bottles of red and white wine and champagne.  And that's not it, there was also a 4 pint container of milk, some butter, some after dinner mints, coffee, tea and sugar, and some freeze dried coffee in the freezer!!

The house itself was brilliantly laid out, with lots of separate communal areas downstairs, including a large lounge, a snug, the kitchen, a dining conservatory and a games room, so we could all spread out and have our own space if we wanted it.  All of the communal rooms had plenty of space so that we could also eat together and relax together in the lounge without being cramped.

All of the bedrooms, even the smallest, was spacious, and 5 of the 7 bedrooms had full en suite facilities, with the last 2 bedrooms sharing a large family bathroom.

The furnishings throughout the house were luxurious and the place was spotlessly clean, with plenty of towels, including separate towels and bathrobes for use in the hot tub area.

The outdoor space was great too.  There was a covered BBQ area, which we hoped to use, a large seating area, which we didn't think we would get to use, the covered hot tub and a really well kept private garden.

Our likes over the course of our stay
  • The space!  All of the communal rooms were plenty big enough to accommodate the 10 of us together, when we wanted to be.  We ate together every evening and spent the evenings playing games in the lounge.
  • The aga.  This was brilliant for cooking for 10 people, especially for breakfast.  We just got stuff cooked and then moved it into the warming oven to keep warm, whilst we waited for everything else to be ready.
  • The kitchen was really well equipped, with more than enough cutlery, crockery and other utensils to feed 10 people.
  • There were two dishwashers, which were a Godsend as one was pretty much always on.
  • The hot tub. It was a really great hot tub.  It had a lid which was easy to lift and lots of different settings, including fountains and other bits and pieces.  It was also really pretty at night as it was all lit up.
  • The games room.  This got lots of use throughout our stay, with lots of pool being played and lots of Wii bowling activity.
  • The house was lovely and warm and cosy, but all of the heating was really easy to regulate, so if you were too warm, it was easy to turn down the temperature in all of the separate rooms.
  • The beds were really comfy, with lovely fluffy pillows and duvets.
  • The wifi was really reliable, right throughout the house, which was a good job as I've never seen so many iPads, smart phones and laptops!
  • The location was great.  As we didn't stay long we didn't go far, but visited Sheringham, Cromer and Fellbrig Hall, all within a 5 mile radius.  We could also walk to the pub or the beach.

Anything that could have made it better?
  • We did have a bit of an incident on our first night.  We all sat in the conservatory until 1.30am playing games.  Now, with the best will in the world, that isn't going to be a quiet activity, not with our lot.  Well, the following morning we had a complaint about the noise from the people staying in the neighboring cottage.  Whilst we did laugh about it afterwards, at the time I have to say I was pretty mortified and it did take the edge of our first morning.  When I thought more about it I did decide that I was actually quite proud.  Imagine, acting like noisy teenagers at our age!!  Once we realised that the sound did carry at night, we just moved our evening activities into the lounge and had no further complaints.

Would we recommend this cottage to our friends and family?

Would we stay here again ourselves?
Definitely! I would certainly consider using it again, should we have another big get together.  I may also consider trying one of the two other smaller cottages that are on offer.

Monday 17 November 2014

Will Sidney's War - July 1917 - Sports Day!

I can't believe it's been so long since I've done a post on Will Sidney's War.  Time is just running away with me.

The last time I posted it was the first week of July 1917, and Will had just been transferred to the 9th Battalion of the York & Lancaster Regiment, which just happened to be his brother, Charlie's, Battalion.

We were really surprised and delighted to read, from Will's diary, that not only was Will fit and well, working at the ammunition dump, but he had actually met up with Charlie, which we found quite remarkable.

During the second week of July 1917 Will writes of his continued work at the ammunition dump, taking shells out of boxes, waiting for Charlie to come back in from the line, moving camp to Steenvoorde and sunburnt knees.

The rest of July sees plenty of correspondence between Will and those back home, with Will writing of sending Ethel a silk card and handkerchief.  We have lots of silk cards that Will sent to Ethel whilst he was posted abroad.  This is the only one that has a silk handkerchief included with it. Could this be the one that Will refers to on 16th July 1917?

On the reverse of the card itself Will writes ..... "The words are my exact thoughts Dear"

Whilst at Steenvoorde there were plenty of inspections, drills and arms and bayonet fighting practice until, on 18th July the Battalion moved again, this time to the Meteren area, where Will writes of rotten baths.  Rotten change of clothing and still wearing bare knees.  He sounds quite fed up.

Maybe the battalion sports event perked him up.  On 24th July, as well as writing of receiving letters from Ethel, Ma, Ernest & Sunderland, Will writes of being entered for the high jump, the slow bicycle race, the 1 mile flat race, the mule race, the 3 legged race, the wheelbarrow race and throwing the bomb.

It sounds like the 24th was a good day for Will as he writes of winning the high jump and the slow bike race.

It appears that on the following day he was pulled down by Charlie in the 1 mile flat race and we're not sure how he performed in his bomb throwing.

Sports Day was still underway 3 days later on the 27th where Will lost in all the events he competed in.  Charlie won the wheelbarrow race, but then was pitched by his mule in the mule race and broke his collar bone and ended up being taken to the Casualty Clearing Station (CCS).
Whilst, as always, Will's diary for July records all letters sent to and received from his dearest Ethel, his writing is more focused on the day to day activities he was undertaking.  On 28th July Will's feelings for Ethel are again in the forefront of his mind as he writes of thinking of her and crying himself to sleep.

From reading ahead in Will's diary, it seems that July was the calm before the storm as August and September see some really serious action for the Battalion.  I'll tell you more about that in my next posts.

Friday 14 November 2014

I'm So Excited!!

Now, if you follow my blog regularly, you'll know that my normal blog posting day is a Monday, in between the washing and the other Internet bits and pieces that I seem to get engrossed in at the beginning of the week. 

Well, this week I just can't wait till Monday to share this news. 

You may remember, back in June I did a post about my life of pottering six months in. Well, it all looked a bit boring and serious, with no pictures, so I included the photos that I had entered for Martin and I into the National Trust Bodnant Garden photo competition just to jazz it up a bit. 

The theme of the competition was 'Why I love Bodnant' and there was a junior and adult category. There was to be a winner and a runner up in each category and then 8 additional photos that would be highly commended. These twelve photos would be included in the Bodnant Garden 2015 calendar and also displayed in the entrance tunnel to the garden. 

Well, Martin called me from work yesterday to say he'd had an email from a lady at Bodnant telling him that one of the photos that he had entered had been highly commended. 

She had said that there were so many wonderful entries, the judges found it impossible to narrow the selection to twelve pictures, so as well as the winning photos and the runners up they have 19 Highly Commended pictures.  These will all feature in the calendar in some way, and a small number will also displayed in the garden entrance tunnel, along with the winners and runners up.

So here it is again, in all it's glory. 

It doesn't always have to be tidy!

Whilst Martin and I would both say that this probably isn't technically the 'best' photo that we took while we were at Bodnant, we both thought that it would be a bit different from shots of flowers and trees and would demonstrate that Bodnant is a garden to be interacted with and enjoyed by all, rather than just looked at. 

I have to say I am a little disappointed that none of my own entries made the grade, but this is far more than made up for by how proud I am of Martin's achievement and the team photography shop at Number 27!

Monday 10 November 2014

Pear & Ginger Jam

Whilst the Quince & Rosemary Jelly is the last preserve made with produce from the Garden at Number 27, my good friend Jackie did bring me a bag of Conference Pears from her garden to see if there was anything I could do with them.

I'd never made a jam from pears before and, after lots of Internet searching, I decided to have a go at making Pear & Ginger Jam.

I have to be totally honest with you guys and let you know that my attempt was a bit of a disaster. It was all going really well and I was just ready to bottle my jam, which looked and tasted great, when the phone rang.

Oh why did I answer it?  It was one of those sales calls that you get rid of within seconds, but that was all it took for my jam to go from a lovely clear and sweet concoction to, what can only be described as burnt to a cinder.

I was bagging it up to throw it in the bin when I suddenly decided to pour it into a couple of jars instead, just to see what it would taste like when set.  Well, it does look quite dark, but it actually tastes ok - a bit like caramelised toffee apples, though personally, I do think there is a bit of a burnt after taste.  Mum and Martin both like it though.

So, I thought it was worth sharing the recipe, but please, please, please, if your phone rings at a crucial stage in the process, just let it ring!

3cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2kg pears, peeled, cored and cut in 1/2cm dice
Rind and juice of 2 lemons
Approx 500ml water
Approx 1kg preserving sugar
5 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped

  1. You will need a piece of clean muslin cloth. Into this put the fresh ginger with the rind and the pips of the lemon.  Tie up with string.
  2. Put the pears and juice of the lemon into a saucepan with the water and the bag of muslin and bring up slowly to hear and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are soft.
  3. Add the sugar and the stem ginger to the pears and cook for a further 50-60 minutes or until it is at setting point, 105 degrees, skimming the top of the jam as you go.  It is important to keep stirring to avoid the mixture catching on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Squeeze as much out of the muslin as you can to gain all of the lovely ginger flavour.
  5. When it is done put into sterilised jars.  You should have around 2kg in weight

Actually, on tasting it, to be able to take this photo, I do think it tastes pretty good.  I think the after taste is actually a strong hit of ginger, rather than it being burnt.  I think there's every chance it will get eaten pretty quickly.

Here's to getting it right next year!

New Craft Project

Whilst on holiday on Dartmoor we wandered round Bovey Tracey, admiring the mosaics that are on display around the town.  We also looked at some local craftsmen's work in the local  Bovey Tracey Craft Centre.  The mosaics on display really got my inspiration going. I need a project for the cold, wet winter months and I thought having a go at working with mosaics could fit the bill very nicely.

To start off with, my imagination did run away with me.  I had thoughts of huge outdoor mosaic panels depicting a particular part of the garden through the seasons, including the changes in the trees and plants, and the insect life that was around. 

I then started seeing potential mosaic projects everywhere I looked. Table tops, kitchen splash backs, back panels of shelving. You name it, I could imagine it covered in mosaic.  Martin did feel that I perhaps needed to reign my imagination in a bit and start off with something a bit more manageable. I think he was right.

I had a good look on line for some inspiration and ideas as to what I could start off with, and found a couple of blogs that helped me to scale down the level of my imagination - for now. I saw some really good examples of garden pots, kitchen trivets and trays. 

I also found a really good tutorial on YouTube that made it look easy so I was definitely considering it doable and maybe in time for some hand made Christmas Gifts. 

My God daughter then pointed me in the direction of Pinterest, a place I'd heard about but never been. That was it, I was definitely going to have a go and, in no time at all, I had started my own Pinterest board

I had my first project in mind and scoured eBay, Etsy and Amazon for tiles (or tesserae, as I now know is the correct term!) and equipment. I was surprised at the breadth of choice available for tiles in all colours, materials and shapes and made my first order.  I went for some vitreous glass tiles, about 2cm square, in my favourite colours of violet and lavender, with some pale and mid grey for contrast.

I did also have a cursory look in our local Hobbycraft.  The mosaic selection was pretty dismal, the Internet is definitely going to be the way to go .

My tiles have come! They are beautiful. I love the colours and the texture. They are just what I wanted. They are perfect.

They come on a paper backing, so one of my first jobs will be to soak these off.

Basic Equipment
Before I get started I need to get stocked up with some basic equipment. I will need some tile cutters, the type with two wheels seem to be the best to use for cutting glass tiles.  I will also need some adhesive, and Weldbond seems to come highly recommended, and some grout. 

For what I am planning on making, as well as something to tile on, I will also need some acrylic based paint and maybe some cork backing. 

The big question is, can I wait for this stuff until my birthday later this month?  Or am I just going to go out and get it so I can get cracking (or cutting!!)

I feel like I'm nearly ready to get started.  Now, I've got my first set of tiles I am itching to get cracking but want to make sure that I do things right. I spent a good couple of hours browsing the Internet again.  This time I was looking at techniques and supplies. 

I found a really great blog called Glittering Shards, which seemed to give the right mixture of inspiration and guidance.  I have also found a really good site through Pinterest with literally 100s of Qs and As, which answers a lot of the questions floating around in my mind at the moment. 

I think I've also discovered that you can mosaic onto MDF, which is good news as I have a big panel that's been sitting in the cupboard under the stairs for goodness knows how long, just in case!! It will be perfect for my first projects, which I am keeping under wraps now as they may be ready in time for Christmas and I want to maintain the element of surprise.

Charity Shop Find
I had a trip to town with mum and decided to trawl the charity shops looking for pretty pottery that I could perhaps use in another mosaic project that I fancy giving a go. Whilst I didn't find anything pottery wise, that I just had to buy, it was good to see what some of the possibilities were. 

What I did just have to buy though, was a set of round wooden table mats. They are about 18cm in diameter and about 1cm thick, so will be perfect for my first project. They need a bit of loving care before I can use them, but let's face it, even my incredibly handy and talented husband was never going to be able to cut out perfect circles!! I will save the MDF for another project.

Waiting to get started
I am really itching to get going now!  I have my idea, I have my tiles, I have my glue, I have my bases.  I just need the rest of my tools and I will be ready.  My birthday is mid-November, so hopefully by then I will have everything I need and will be able to get started.

It's really exciting having a brand new project to get my teeth into and it's also good to have something completely different to post about in my blog, so make sure you keep watching this space to see how I get on.

Friday 7 November 2014

Spooky Brum!!

My eldest Goddaughter, Rachel, has recently moved into a new apartment in The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, with her boyfriend Tom.

There are two things that have been on the cards for a while.  One was to visit Rachel & Tom and to see where they live.  The other was to complete a series of Geocaches around The Jewellery Quarter, called Ghostly Brum.  Spookily enough, this series has been set by another Geocacher, known as The Strangler!

As it was just after Halloween the timing seemed really apt.  The plan was to pick up our friends, Jackie & Phil (Rachel's mum and dad), also known in the Geocaching world as the Sandybacks, to head over to Brum, visit Rachel & Tom, do a spot of caching and have a nice lunch somewhere, before heading back home.

Rachel & Tom's apartment is pretty darn cool.  They are on the ground floor of an old converted factory, with a huge outside terrace which leads onto an open area within the centre of the apartment block.  In the apartment and on the terrace, you just wouldn't have a clue that you were smack bang in the middle of a really busy part of the city.

We soon headed out on our wander around The Jewellery Quarter, an area of Brum that we haven't visited since we bought our wedding rings about 5 years ago and, other than for visiting Rachel & Tom, Jackie & Phil were in the same position, only they bought their's 25 years ago!

Before we started on the Ghostly Brum series we decided to pick up a few other caches that were also in the nearby vicinity and started out at St Paul's Church.  As it is surrounded by trees, which are displaying some amazing colours at the moment, the church looked really lovely in the Autumn sunshine.  You wouldn't have known you were a stone's throw away from the busy city centre.

EarthCache - Large Icon
We were then tempted by an Earthcache, also nearby, which involved us all huddling under a railway bridge trying to measure the length of a stalactite, from ground level, and work out how long it would have taken to grow to that length.

Eventually we were started on our Ghostly Trail which started outside of a coffin makers!  Sadly this cache seemed to have gone missing so we scored our first did not find or 'DNF' of the day. As each cache in the series gave a clue to where the final booty was to be found, we weren't sure as to whether we would be able to finish the series, but decided to continue anyway.

We found all of the other clues, which involved a real wander around the less trodden streets of The Jewellery Quarter and took us through the local cemetery and past the catacombs, before heading to the nearest pub, The Rose Villa Tavern, to see if we could work out the co-ordinates for the final hide.
The pub was a real treasure.  It was full of original features, including stained glass windows and mosaic floor and wall tiles.  It was really lovely, no frills, very traditional, but not what we were expecting at all.

Lunch really hit the spot and we managed to e-mail The Strangler to see if he could help with our missing clue.  He did come back to us, but by the time we'd finished eating, it was pouring with rain and we were all a bit tired and ready for a chill out, so the final find was left for another day.
We'd had a really lovely walk around The Jewellery Quarter.  The way that the city has been redeveloped over the years has left a real blend of old and new.  I never cease to be fascinated by it. Wandering around on a Sunday, when it is not full of hustle and bustle, really gives you the chance to stand back and appreciate what is all around you.  I would say, if you get the chance, get out there, wander round your cities and really look at them.  They will surprise and delight you.