Can someone please explain where on earth 2/3rds of September just disappeared off to?! This has been one very mad month. Between August and September I've had three incomplete weeks at work, thanks to taking a Friday and the Tuesday after the bank holiday to go to Greenbelt, then the week after I spent three days oop north at a conference for work. Then I had a WHOLE FIVE DAYS (shock horror) at work, then we set off on holiday. So some of the time has been a little bitty. The weekends have been mad. I got back from the conference at 10pm on the Friday, then lurched straight off to the church open day on the Saturday (having baked some chocolate brownies to sell on the Fair trade stall in the meantime), then hurtled straight into the church patronal festival the next morning, then off to knitting group for the afternoon. Gardening has got a bit behind as I haven't been at home to do any.
Fortunately I got the OH's jumper finished in time for his birthday.
pattern - very easy to follow and well-written, and easy to adapt to particular quirks so I altered the length of the body and sleeves to his preferences.
And sewed a label in the back.
The slow cooker has come in very handy (again). This is lamb casserole.
The conference (held in Durham, with a trip to Newcastle) was most impressive. We stayed in Collingwood at Durham University. Halls of residence have moved on a bit since my day, not only was my room en suite, but it even came complete with its own recycling crate, and a little shelf with aerial socket to put a TV on! Back in my student days in the Dark Ages you had to carry your recycling all the way to the supermarket car park to find a recycling bin. And whilst I did have a TV in my room at university, it had to sit on a wobbly little table supplied by me, with a wobbly aerial sat on top of it.
Most impressively, the halls also had a "green" policy, with loads of stuff about reducing energy use, the food miles of the food served up in the dining hall (very tasty it was too) and even the conference packs provided in the rooms were all fair trade! Apparently there is some kind of competition between the colleges about which has the lowest carbon emissions.
Oriental Museum one night. This is the sort of place where I'd love to spend more time looking round, and I'd recommend a visit if you're in the area.
and a reception at the Botanic Gardens another night. Again, I'd have loved to have seen more of this than I did, the bit I saw looked beautiful.
One morning we took a trip up to Newcastle on a bus, to visit Seven Stories - the centre for children's literature. This is one of the coolest places I've ever been, and there was plenty on the, er, seven storeys, of the building to keep adults and children alike entertained (don't worry, there is a lift). The exhibitions managed to combine interesting stuff for older people (like me), with more kid-friendly stuff, and there is a massive creating space for children at the bottom storey, as well as the biggest selection of children's books in the bookshop that I've ever seen in one place. I loved the exhibition about Puffin books, and found displays from some of my childhood favourites.
Plus, they had a display about what happens to their book collections when they arrive on site, which included something that I think should go into my job description:
See, I'm an expert and a bit like a detective!
It was also fun driving around Newcastle on the bus, and admiring the views.
including a glimpse of the Angel of the North as we approached the city.
On the final day of the conference we got to visit the new exhibition space at Palace Green (the university special collections library), where there was a display of Treasures of the University. I also trotted off for a quick trip into the cathedral.
It was a great trip, I only wish I'd had more time to visit places in Durham - I did return to Newcastle with the OH this week whilst we were on holiday, more in a future blog post!