What’s up…

Oh my! Where do I start? I feel as though Christmas was just yesterday and here we are at the end of April. The year really has flown too fast, and I feel that I need to take a moment to stop the world and take stock. I have neglected so much because I have been far too busy. Each weekend I think I will catch up with correspondence, maybe do a bit of knitting etc., but it does not seem to happen. I find other pressing things that need to be attended to from sorting out the garden, decorating, work, and much much more. Today was no different. I woke in the middle of the night with a plan, but, that did not happen and I ended up building two new desks for M and me. M had bought himself a new one as the one he bought earlier in the year just wasn’t working for him, it is a shame as it is a lovely oak writing desk. The new one is more suited for his needs. However, after building it this morning for him I thought it was rather nice and ended up ordering one for myself, and collected it at 4pm when it was in store. Of course, me being impatient, built it and broke down my old desk that is about 15 years old ready for the dump. Between all this, I had to take the dogs walking as much as possible between the monsoon downpours we are experiencing at the moment with storm Hanna.

Next thing I know it is 7pm and I need to make dinner and the day has passed over with no catch up done whatsoever.

My part of the office, and yes you can see Deckard, Office K, Joi, Luv and Niander Wallace from Blade Runner 2049. On the shelf above my iMac is a poster of 2049.

Tomorrow I have to do big water changes and filtration cleaning on all three tanks, so that will be the morning taken up. Dump runs are needed to in order to get rid of my old desk and other bits of accumulated rubbish. Next will be painting the ceiling in the kitchen. I have already done the walls, but the colour (feather pillow) was not what I envisioned and looks white, so I need to get a new colour and redo all the walls. I also have to rub down the cupboards and paint them, and finally replace the worktops and change the lighting to LED. Once done I think I can sit down and catch up, or, at least, that is the plan. Later in the year, I need to sort out the flooring in two of the bedrooms as it needs replacing, and is a job I am not looking forward too. Also the flooring in part of the kitchen behind the units and where the dishwasher is, needs to be replaced too. It seems like we never stop working on the house. I sometimes feel it is like a millstone around our necks, but the house was built in the late 1800s and repairs come with the territory.

My sewing machine as mentioned in a past post is still sitting next to my desk ready for me to service it, but I just have not had time. I have so much Netflix to watch, and far too many books that I have bought this year to read. If I can just stay at home for the next 8 months and concentrate on catching up I will be ready by Christmas to resume a normal life.

I leave you with a tune I love, and it sort of sums up everything for me.

Das Boot

Sky Atlantic has been filming the latest series of Das Boot here. The car park by the beach where we walk the dogs has been transformed into an American Bay Diner and Motel. The path behind the sign takes you directly to the boardwalk and the beach. We usually park behind where the diner is situated, but that part of the carpark was cut off. A few old vehicles where there too as part of the filming was done on our coastal road on Monday and cut off from traffic.

The Bay Motel & Diner
The Bay Diner – Not Really Open 24 Hours

As mentioned, the coastal road was cut off on Monday to become a Maine. We also walk the dogs on the dunes by the coast road where as mentioned in a previous post the cattle graze for 7 months a year.

Welcome to Maine Ainsdale
1942 meets 2019

It is not the first time we have had film crews here. War Of The Worlds was filmed here last year, namely the site of the second cylinder that crashes into the pine forests near Horsell Common. Liverpool is 40 minutes drive south and lots of filming is done there all the time, namely Das Boot, War Of The World, Peaky Blinders, 51st State (I supplied equipment for this one), Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Fast & Furious 6, Captain America, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Creed, and so much more.

We have seen many famous actors too whilst things have been filmed here, including Tom Hardy, Killian Murphy, Robert Carlisle, Rafe Spall amongst many others, also Sir Anthony Quayle came from our village.

Here are a few shots from the BBC’s 3 part series of War Of The Worlds, not too sure when it is getting released yet.

Here there be cattle

The sand dunes are not too far from our house and are a great place to take the dogs walking. Part of the dunes are fenced off but have access gates so everyone can still use them, 47 gates that we have noted so far. Last September, signs appeared on most of the gates saying that cattle would be roaming free from October to April within the fenced area and that dogs need to be kept on leads at times.

Aerial view of the dunes (ocean south of the photo)

Over the past 6 months, we have walked through the enclosure and never see any cattle. The other side of the village there are the pinewoods that back onto the beach, and these too have cattle in the enclosures, but again, we had never seen them. Lots of cowpats (dung) to suggest they are there though, but no sitings until today that is.

Lesser spotted dune cattle

Harper seemed quite interested in watching them quietly, but Mazikeen must have thought they were a threat and decided to bark at them, much to the amusement of the cattle who just looked at her and carried on chewing. They are set to leave the enclosure at the end of the month, no idea where they will be going. The same happens at the fields by the woods with the sheep, they graze there for only 6 months before being moved on. Hopefully, we will see them a few more times before they go.


I knit as you all know, and I can hand sew too. The last few years I have thought about learning to machine sew properly. This year after watching the Great British Sewing Bee I decided that this is the time to start and learn a new skillset. Luckily, I have a sewing machine which my Aunt gave me back in the early ’90s. Every now and again I bring it out if I am sewing something large, but it’s rare, as I tend to sew by hand. This evening I got it out. It has a hard shell carry case that goes over it and clips onto the machine base, but, for some reason, I looked inside the hard shell cover and discovered it had an extension fitted to it in the photograph. I have had this machine for about 26 years and never knew it was there.

This is my machine, The Janome New Home 632 Heavy Duty

As well as having the instruction manual, I also have all the tools for it and the original oil dispenser, complete with original oil. I plugged it in and tried it, just to make sure that it was still in order, and off it went. I need to do a service on it by cleaning the moving parts and oiling it, but apart from that, it is ready to go. I have tried to find out when it was made but to no avail. However, I have emailed Janome and asked if they could tell me so I will update when I find out. I read an article that talks about machines post 1975 and roughly suggests 1985, if so it is 34 years old, and indeed vintage.

I have quite a few old things upstairs that I can use to get used to using it like clothes and bedding, but once I have mastered it I will experiment and try a few simple patterns, then finally make some shirts for myself.

I have been looking about for a new machine and found two lovely Brother machines, the FS40 (below left) and the FS100WT (below right). After watching Brothers videos on them both I am more inclined to go for the FS100WT. It is a lot more expensive than the other, but it does so much more, and 100 pre-programmed stitches and letters as opposed to just 40 stitches on the other.

Does anyone reading have experience with sewing? What route would you suggest I take in order to learn? I have been watching “The Jason of all Trades” on YouTube. A male sewer who shows you how to sew like a pro, including little projects and a fab looking backpack. Let me know your thoughts, and any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

I will still continue to do my knitting, but I need a new skillset to get my teeth into this year. I may never get to the level of Savile Row, but hell, I will give it a go.

Dog DNA Testing

K9 DNA Kit

M and I had our DNA mapped a good few years ago with 23andMe and loved the experience of finding out lots of things about ourselves from traits to health and of course ancestry. But I always thought it would be fun to have the dogs DNA mapped, and see what they are made of, health, allergies and reaction to drugs etc. I always thought it would be a bit of a pipe dream and that no one would do such things. We did have Lilu’s DNA done, but that was in case she was stolen, and having the DNA map meant that we would be able to get her back if she was stolen and her chip changed.

Today, I received an email from our insurers about having DNA mapping for dogs, and that got me thinking again about it all. I found kits on the usual sites, but nothing too exciting. Then I came across Wisdom Panel who are part of the Mars group and do full DNA mapping for dogs. After a good read of the site, I think I will take the plunge and get them done. £75 each and you get full ancestry, breed and health reports with drug sensitivity that you can share with the vets. One of the things I noted that when you buy a kit you get a code that you can share with family and friends to give a discount to them, but when buying 2 kits no discount is given so I will have to buy a kit, then order another one and use the code unless I can find a code on the internet. I have found ones that work with the .com site, but nothing for the British site, which is about right here, most companies are tight-fisted in the UK.

Once I have had the DNA done I will share the results with you all. If it is anything like the experience when we had our own DNA done it will be both exciting and interesting.