Q is for …. Qué?!

Our trip to Tenerife did leave us with a few questions, so where better to air them than in our photographical alphamabetical theatre?

It started by me noticing a shop called Bazar Raquel and deciding that, when (not if) I run away to Tenerife it would be absolutely ideal to take over and have a ready made business….although perhaps amending the name to Bizarre would be more fitting.

After that these signs kept popping up and had me questioning “why?”! You can see what I mean….

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I was expecting to see poultry photos rather than shoes, but I quite like it! But not as much as I like this!

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Mami comes to Tenerife – who knew?! Or do they mean mummy not Miami? The sign is enough to make you very cherfull though 🙂

We booked tIMG_0623hree trips during our time from these lovely people, and their name was one of the attractions….

I’m sure they’d attract even more customers if they exchanged the G for a B though!

We did begin to wonder whether there was perhaps a corrupt signwriter locally who was charging everyone extra for unwanted and needless lettering? Or someone with a Spanish/English Dictionary which had a few pages missing? But then I thought perhaps a more reasonable explanation was that it pulled in naive or nosy foreigners who came along to point out the mistakes in their signage who were then hooked, found some rare item that they just COULDN’T live without and another sale was made there and then to someone who might not have called in other than to point out the spelling error?! Interesting concept – might try it myself one day!

It does seem however that, no matter how much the islanders bend over to make the English feel at home, they don’t share one of the obsessions we have over here…..

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True to their signage though, we didn’t see a single garden gnome the whole time we were there!

This is the sign which really made us laugh though – both the description of boat rental being “very funny” and “very stable and safe” when three of the boats show are actually airborne was enough to keep us chuckling, if not enough to have us going down to the harbour to book up!

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P is for …. Produce (home made, grown and crafted!)

Many years ago, when Holly was young, I belonged to the local WI Producers Market. When Holly reached “proper” school age I had to leave and get a real job (boo!). Now, however, it feels like time to try something new, or rather to revisit something previously tried.

In the time since I last belonged to the market things have changed. The group is part of the Country Markets scheme and now goes under that title, rather than mentioning the WI. As you’ll see from the Country Markets website, there are around 300 Country Markets across England, Wales and the Channel Islands and their quest is to sell fresh, home grown veg, fruit, flowers and plants as well as baked goods and preserves. There’s also a great range of craft goods – which is the bit I was particularly interested in. I used to sell hand made cards at the market all those years ago and hope to do the same again now that I’ve re-joined (for the handsome joining fee of 5 whole pence!!).

As a testament to what a great group of people they are, many of the producers I knew when I was there nearly 10 years ago, are still there and still producing amazing goods.

Our market is open from 9am to 12pm every Friday in a local hall and the sight of the tables full of great produce before the masses invade and start buying is amazing. Have a look…

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It’s an absolute pleasure to be back amongst such lovely, friendly and creative people and hopefully long may it last.

Perhaps you could use the search button on the Country Markets website and find a group near you to visit or join…or pop along and see us in Honiton!

 

O is for …. Outlet Shopping

Anyone who knows me will be quite aware that I’m not a fan of shopping, unless it’s for crafty things, cook-y things or irrelevant, unneeded nonsense. To find myself spending Saturday sat in the car for 2+ hours to travel to Swindon Designer Outlet might, therefore, be a bit surprising but I’m all for outings to somewhere new and to find something different to see.

As Outlet shopping goes, Swindon’s pretty good I think. The outlet occupies the restored Great Western Railway Works and opened in 1997. I found looking around the bits of left over engine works the most interesting bit, but that’s just me. The centre was actually surprisingly quiet for a Saturday, but perhaps the locals had stayed away as the outlet is undergoing a big makeover at the moment, reopening properly in the autumn.

So, on arrival the first thing to do, other than marveling at the high ceilings and wonderful natural light (see, not a shopper!) is to approach the information desk at the front of the outlet. We stopped there initially drawn in by a compeIMG_2095tition to find the right key to open one of 3 boxes containing designer goods. Once we were at the desk we were asked if we’d like to sign up for a Privilege Card to gain another 10% savings on top of the already generous discounts available. On top of that we were given 2 sheets of paper with special offers available just for that weekend. As we looked around I was amazed by the number of people who were just handing over their money without using the card or the additional sheet of offers. For example, we ate at Pizza Express just before leaving and handed over one of the sheets which allowed us 25% off our total bill. This sent the staff into a bit of a frenzy over what to do! It must have been the first time they’d been handed that sheet on that day, or at least on that shift. Given we were eating after 6pm, a lot of people must have missed out on that offer presumably?

Kevin and Holly picked up great bargains during the shopping spree, particularly at Superdry where prices were slashed by an average of around 60%. On top of designer clothes stores there were three different chocolate shops (yay, more my scene!), cookery shops and home furnishing outlets. Plenty for everyone. And if you don’t like that, there’s plenty to see in, as previously mentioned, the old station works and several large Lego displays!

If you’re in the area, it’s well worth the visit – just remember to pick up your privilege card on the way in!

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Oh, and look out for the odd famous model hanging around too!!

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N is for …. Never Forget

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If you visit the Tower of London before 11th November you will see the “Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red” installation, marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. 888,246 ceramic poppies have progressively filled the Tower’s moat, the sight is stunning and the crowds are strangely hushed as an atmosphere of reflection falls over them.

Please do take the time to go and see it if you can. You won’t regret it.

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https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/ to find out more.

M is for …. Medals

The Summer Reading Challenge 2014 is now officially over! That isn’t to say that we won’t be making up certificates and awarding medals to those children who didn’t manage to get to the award ceremony last week – we wouldn’t be so mean!

If you haven’t heard of the Summer Reading Challenge before, it’s a scheme backed by the Reading Agency and it takes place in libraries all over the country during the school holidays. There’s a different theme each year and children have an absolute free reign on what they read – fiction, non-fiction, picture books, audio books – anything so long as they’ve borrowed it from the library. Their only commitment is to read 6 books during the holidays and to come in to tell us what they thought of the books, and to fill out the information on the back of their sticker sheets, marking the books out of 3 stars depending how much they liked the book. Yup, you read that correctly, they get stickers into the bargain too! Each set of stickers features a scratch and sniff sticker which provokes LOTS of eugh-ing, laughter, conversation and dispair from the adults (which adds to the fun of course!). This year’s stickers weren’t too bad, fortunately. Last year they were so bad we actually had people walking past our stock room where the stickers were kept and coming and telling us they thought we had a gas leak!

AND there are medals (just as well given the title!).  IMG_1850As well as having various (FREE!) activities during the school holidays along the theme of that year’s Challenge (Mythical Maze this year) we have an award ceremony at the end of the holidays so that the children can be presented with their medals (very patiently threaded by Linda!) and certificates.

IMG_1852This year we were lucky enough to have the services of our local Town Crier, Dave, to help with the award ceremony. He came in full costume (how he managed to stay upright given the temperature of the library with that many bodies in it on that particularly hot evening I don’t know!), with bell and did a special cry that he’d invented just for us.

We were delighted to have more children start and finish the challenge than ever before. We’ve had about 150 children finish the challenge this year – last year, our then highest figure, was 87. Given the great weather we’ve had this summer in particular, we’re really pleased with this figure and would like to say a huge thanks to all the children who took part and all of their parents to for bringing them to the library.

Here’s a photo of Linda with one of the medals and our breakdown of figures of starters, finishers and their age groups.

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And here’s a photo of some of our wonderful finishers with their medals and certificates. Funnily enough there were lots and lots of parents gathered at the back until we got the camera out…and all of a sudden lots of them disappeared behind the bookshelves…! Though I have to admit I’d be hiding with them if I wasn’t lucky enough to be stood at the front holding the camera in order to stay out of the photo!

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L is for … Lancaster Bomber

Hot on the tail (or wing) of talking about Bournemouth Air Festival, one of our favourites to watch in the skies has to be the mighty Lancaster Bomber. The very sight and sound of it humming through the sky is enough to bring on a shiver of goosebumps.

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It’s hard to believe that the first flight of the Lancaster was as far back as 9 January 1941, before it was introduced into service in October of that year. An impressive total of 7,377 Lancasters were built between 1941 and early 1946. Of these, some 3,500 were lost on operations and another 200 or so were destroyed or written off in crashes. The vast majority of those Lancasters that did survive the war were simply scrapped when their services were no longer required.

IMG_6670PA474, which displayed as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight recently in Bournemouth, is one of only two Lancaster aircraft remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 that were built.  The other Lancaster is Canadian and has been over in the UK for the past month taking part in the BBMF activities with the UK Lancaster. We were lucky enough to see it do a fly past over Exeter Airport after displaying in Dawlish, but unfortunately it wasn’t able to fly while we were in Bournemouth.

IMG_4975Holly was lucky enough to meet some of the Bomber team at Bournemouth back in 2010 and they were absolutely lovely, very gentle and patient. The number of people interested in speaking to them, particularly of the older generation, was very touching.

The Lancaster is displaying, as part of the Memorial Flight, until the end of this month. If you get chance to go and see them, I really would recommend it. Here’s the details of their flying displays – http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/displayinfo/

K is for …. Katherine

My friend Katherine quite often helps me with ideas for this alphabetically challenging game – usually with a “nooooo, don’t do that!” in the right places (fortunately! Not brave enough to tell you the things I WAS going to post without her helpful censoring!), so when it came to the letter K I thought I had the very best idea of what, or who, to feature … until I spoke to her about it that is!

Quite honestly I should have known better because, like me, Katherine has a very sensible aversion to having her photo taken. Why give people photographic evidence eh?! I’m completely with her on that one. However she was obliging in other ways. She did tell me that if I put a photo of her on my blog I would feel the full force of her Knee….

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If that wasn’t scary enough she did also threaten a Knuckle sandwich (see, she is being obliging…kinda, in a threatening sorta way!).

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Just as well she didn’t remember this one from back in April or she could have threatened a double whammy of a Knuckle sandwich combined with a good Kick!!

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All joking aside, Katherine is such a lovely, Kind and caring friend and my life is much richer with her in it. I shall raise a glass to you my lovely friend, just making sure it’s not the one you just gave me for my birthday (ick!). K most definitely is for my friend Katherine.

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