Archive for August, 2013

A day at Hever Castle and Gardens….

Posted in Weekly Wonderings with tags , , , , , , , , , on 31 August 2013 by misselisabethuk

With the school holidays drawing to a close and my last day of annual leave this summer, I took a trip to Hever Castle and Gardens (week 35).  I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been there before, as I certainly had heard about it.

The history bit: The original castle was built in 1270 and was home to one of the most powerful families in the 15th and 16th century, the Bullens.  It later became home to Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife).  The castle that we see today is very much thanks to William Waldorf Astor who in 1903 invested vast amounts of his time and money into restoring the castle which he extended and made his family home.

A picture taken in the Italian Gardens at Hever Castle 30-08-2013

And what a great day it was too.  The sun was shining but there was a nice light breeze with scattered clouds, which meant the walking and hiking around the grounds wasn’t too uncomfortable.

The water maze was one of the main attractions which you would have expected on such a warm day.  The aim was to get to the top of the tower in the centre WITHOUT getting wet.  Not sure anyone managed that but actually I’m not sure they cared either as they were having so much fun.

It was nice to sit and hear the laughs of joy and giggles of laughter when the wrong stone was stepped on and a squirt of water came up from out of nowhere to wet all who stood by.

There was another maze made of Yew trees.  It must have been there for many years as it was well established.  I can just imagine the care and encouragement a team of gardeners would have given in the development of such an intricate set of pathways, with the aim of providing decades of joy and entertainment to generations of children and adults.

Just to prove I made It to the centre:

The obelisk at the centre of the Yew Tree maze at Hever Castle

The obelisk at the centre of the Yew Tree maze at Hever Castle

A view of Hever Castle taken from the obelisk at the centre of the Yew Tree maze.

Such good fun!


There were many other things to see and do at the Castle, with plenty of room to bring your own picnic and outdoor games.  It also didn’t feel too overcrowded and you could easily find yourself a quiet spot away from the hubbub of the main areas.

And so to the Castle….  This was very well laid out and organised, with a clear route through so you could see a lot of the original castle architecture.  Some of the wood and stone work was intricately carved to an amazing standard and to think the tools available to carry out such works prior to the 20th century were probably hand tools, possibly made by the craftsmen themselves.  Also the amount of patience the craftsmen must have had to create such decadent intricate masterpieces, I certainly wouldn’t have that sort of patience.  It may have even been the craftsmans life’s work in those days but I’m no historian.  Anyway I was in awe (my fascination with buildings is creeping in again).  Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of my own from inside the castle, but there are lots online.

Hever Castle taken from the side at a distance

Hopefully a view from the outside with suffice.  I hope you get a chance to visit this castle.

And here ends my blog this week, I hope you enjoyed this small bit of English history with a royal edge, until next week….


A penchant for stationery….

Posted in Weekly Wonderings with tags , , , , , on 30 August 2013 by misselisabethuk

Who else gets excited when they see a shop full of stationery?  You know notebook, post-its, pretty writing paper and notelets…

Well I do and I wanted to share with you my most recent purchase.

new notebook 2It’s a small notebook, which fits neatly into my handbag.


Cream lined pages.




And finally a bit of grammar guidance:

‘stationery’ is spelt with an e for envelopes….

It’s the start of my ‘Get a six-pack plan’..

Posted in Time for Change with tags , , , , , , , on 29 August 2013 by misselisabethuk

Exercise…. and the start of my ‘get a six-pack plan’…. and besides I have a suitcase of clothes to get back into!

My motto – slow and steady wins the race (well for now anyway).

Day 1 – (24 August 2013)

Cross Trainer – 3 mins
Stomach Crunches – 25 middle, 20 left, 20 right, 20 middle
Plank – 15 count (x4)

Day 2 – (10 St 9 lbs)

Cross Trainer – 3 mins
Stomach Crunches – 20 middle, 10 left,10 right
Barbells (2.5kg) – Right arm: 20 bicep curl, 20 side bicep curls (not sure of the name of these), side hold 20 count, forward hold 10 count.  Repeated with Left arm.
Plank – 15 count (x2)
Squats 10, held 10 held (x2)
and knee dips x15

Day 3 –

Couldn’t bear any more stomach crunches today, they are sore!
20 minute walk (x2) and some vigorous tile removal and waste clearance

Day 4 – (Work out music courtesy of Skid Row)

Cross Trainer – 6 mins
20 minute walk (x2)
A day of scrubbing and lifting

Day 5 – (I decided to go for an evening workout instead of a morning one today)

Cross Trainer – 6 mins

I am sooooooo unfit!  Oh and weak too when it comes to yummy food.  ARGHHH!


Posted in Daily Jollop on 25 August 2013 by misselisabethuk


It was inevitable…. but let the exercise commence

Posted in Weekly Wonderings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 25 August 2013 by misselisabethuk

Dear all, welcome to week 34 (also covering week 33, so you could say you are getting a 2 for 1 offer this week!)

I don’t know if you remember one of my previous posts on vision boards, where I posted you a picture of mine…  If not here is the link:

Anyhow, it’s taken me a while to get up and running on this, one of my vision board items, but yesterday was the start.  I am so proud I managed to get myself focused and start what I am going to call my ‘get a six-pack plan’ – the left hand side of my vision board ‘Health and Fitness’.

Why did I choose now to do this?  Well, I have a weeks annual leave for one thing so I thought I could start to embed an exercise regime into my day, initially without constraint.  After a week I would clearly know how much time certain exercises would take me to do and hence know when the best time to factor them into my day would be.

I used to consider myself a very fit person but after a knee injury, which left me disheartened and in pain for at least 6 months, the exercise regime went out of the window and I settled into a life without any exercise apart from that gained by the daily commute and the odd swim.

I also thought that now this 30-something was pushing towards a new decade in her life, I really should get a grip of a healthy lifestyle sooner rather than later which would see me through the changes I would be facing in the remaining time I have left on this planet and hopefully lengthen it somewhat if possible – too much to do and so little time in which to do it (a common problem).

Working in the field of Pensions it has made me think more about lifespans (longevity) and the changes to retirement expectations and what with retirement ages increasing you have to keep yourself healthy enough to at least live long enough to see your supposed retirement.  Gone are the days of Final Salary pension schemes and Retirement at age 50 like the golden generation had.

So it’s time to get fit again.  I’m currently on day two of the ‘get a six-pack plan’ so early days but I intend to keep a diary of the exercises I am doing and will share these with you intermittently to record progress.

I do not intend to do anything different with my diet at this stage, my weight has been stable for a while so I think by increasing my fitness and exercise the amount of calories I am currently eating will become insufficient and so I will naturally lose weight.  I have a very interesting relationship with food, in that I love it and would happily eat anything and everything every day, so I have had to be disciplined which I think is now embedded.  So I will not focus on this aspect initially.

I would be interested in hearing anyone else’s experiences they have had with exercise and/or food.

Until next time, stay fit and healthy!

Mind the Track…

Posted in Weekly Wonderings with tags , , , , , , , on 11 August 2013 by misselisabethuk

This week (week 32) I wanted to cover a difficult subject, depression.   Following congestion on the underground due to a person under a train on the Victoria Line this week, I got thinking, why would someone do that?  The only two reasons I could come up with were, that it was an unfortunate accident or that it was intentional.

Which got me thinking about why someone would take their own life.  Wasn’t it avoidable? Where were the person’s family and friends?  What was so bad that their life was a worthy price to pay for the pain or trauma they were feeling, without seeking help?  Probably all the questions their nearest and dearest ask after such a tragedy.

I have had the horrible experience of having a good friend of mine meet his end prematurely due to being hit by a train in a tragic lack of judgement, a drunken accident if you will.  The impact of a life being extinguished prematurely in such a way ripples right through a community of friends (past and present), family, work colleagues, other parties; banks, mortgage providers, council tax, utilities, I could go on but the immense network of events triggered by the loss of just one life is huge.  It sets in motion a series of consequential actions, which can be very far-reaching with varying degrees of impact.

So to turn to those who feel that they have no other option but to take their own life.  Depression is a very dark and lonely place, where normal levels of perspective is distorted.  People who suffer from depression can on a daily basis ‘seem’ very upbeat and positive, and that’s possibly why sometimes the condition can remain concealed.  The mind is a complex area so I don’t want to appear to be generalising and am clearly no expert, but I wanted to provide some food for thought from the examples I have personally witnessed.

I think, in some cases, people who are depressed have not recognised what they are going through and fight against the feelings of loneliness, anxiety and hopelessness, as they cannot comprehend why they would have these feelings as their lives in general will be ok.   Depression is a condition that spirals downwards but can fluctuate rapidly upwards and downwards, it can be a rollercoaster of positivity and negativity even within the same moment.  Without the right level of support from the right people a person could go from ‘Hero to Zero’ to coin a phase some times very quickly.

It is usually accumulative, so to start it is triggered by a specific situation, maybe an argument, negative feedback, high expectations, bereavement to name a few.  The initial trigger is unlikely to be recognised as the start of depression, however, if other triggers happen in succession all of a sudden a state of depression is entered into.

Many people at the start of their depression become withdrawn, which is interesting as they will already have feelings of isolation and loneliness (no-one understands me) so by withdrawing they put themselves in exactly the situation which they feel and reinforces these feelings and this is how things start to spiral downwards.

Good supportive friends and family will force their loved one to go out and be included in activities, which then reverses any feelings of loneliness even if only temporarily it could reverse the depressive downward spiral.  It also opens the door to share what’s on their mind, talking is key to recovery – a problem shared is truly a problem halved.  I am not suggesting the issues faced are small and inconsequential far from it but to share a problem, sometimes saying it out loud can put a different perspective on the issue faced.

Those at risk are those who do not have this support network or those who feel they can cope and go down the road of concealment, which can be very self-destructive and I would urge against this course of action.  For those without support please contact a charity, such as the Samaritans, who are qualified to offer such support, there is always someone you can talk to.

My conclusion for this week is that I need to be supportive of friends and family and be aware that just because someone is wearing a smile on their face it doesn’t mean that everything is smelling of roses.

Until next week have a good one and if you are feeling a bit down, please speak to someone about it!

Fascinated by Buildings…

Posted in General Scribbings, Weekly Wonderings with tags , , , , , , , , , on 7 August 2013 by misselisabethuk

Ever since I was a young girl I have been fascinated by buildings, mainly thanks to my Dad – a builder born and bred.

Back in the day when Health and Safety was less ‘belts and braces’ I used to get the odd treat of going to see where my Dad was working and was allowed on site to see what had been done and the building plans of what was going to be created.

For work experience I had the opportunity to go with my uncle, who made bespoke plaster mouldings, to an English Heritage site where plaster moulding repairs were to be done.  He needed to do a site inspection to assess the work, which consisted of making drawings and measurements of the damaged sections in preparation to recreating the pattern and sizing to match in new for old exactly.

Once this was done we went back to his yard and I saw an egg and dart cornice section being put in the previously constructed mould and set.

It amazed me how intricate some of the ceilings and walls were and the amount of careful craftsmanship that had gone into creating such works of art architecturally.

My next lot of work experience, whilst at school, was in an architect’s office.  Here I learnt to make a plan drawing to scale using a rule, pencil and ink.  Very interesting but what put me off from becoming an architect was (at that time) they would spend a lot of their time bent over a table drawing.  Obviously now with CAD etc. an architects life is very different.

As an adult I have always opted for properties that were in need of updating, which usually means ripping out the bathroom and kitchen, and reinstall.  But it’s funny, even now I get that same buzz I had as I a child walking into an empty house, with that smell of bare wooden floorboards and old plaster, I don’t think I will ever tire of.

This week I had the opportunity to visit the Prudential Holborn Bars building designed by Alfred Waterhouse, built 1879.  Well what can I say but the architecture was amazing and again I got that warm feeling of excitement and was in awe at the intricacy of some of the buildings features which were constructed over a 100 years ago without the aid of modern technology.

So here’s where I leave you with a final thought….

I ask you to think about the buildings and the space you occupy, don’t take it all for granted.  Amazing things have been done with buildings in the UK over the last couple of centuries and there is no doubt that the house of tomorrow will reflect a new way of living in the cyber generation.  However, the older buildings also have a place and they remind us how great our builders and architects were back in the day and we should celebrate this heritage and not just get rid of it because it is perceived not to be ‘modern’.

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