The many uses of masking tape, part one.

(Wed 2-Aug-2017)
Drawers with masking tape labels

I’m working on becoming an organised person with an organised house, something I’ve been bad at for a long time. I’ve sorted out my son’s drawers (with his help and input), and until he’s used to it, these masking tape labels should help him with both putting away laundry and getting out clean clothes to get dressed. I tried something similar with post it notes for my daughter, but they fell off within a day. Masking tape is nearly as easy to write (and draw) on, sticks better, but still won’t damage the furniture when I take it off.

Category: Life with Nickoli


On Christian culture

(Sun 4-Jun-2017)

I was reading The L’Abri Statements of Faith (PDF), and this section, from 1.5, about applying God’s truth to the whole of life, really struck me:

Often Christians retreat from the wider culture, believing it to be completely dominated by ideas and practices which are contrary to God’s commandments. Developing our own sub-culture will provide protection from the world for ourselves and our children, many Christians feel, and so society is abandoned to go its wicked way. Yet, God has not abandoned the human race, humans all still bear the divine image, and therefore His Glory can still be perceived in all human cultures despite the terrible corruptions of sin. As Christians we are called by the Lord not to withdraw from the world but to be in it, living as salt and light in it, rejoicing in all that is good in human society, and committing ourselves to make a difference in our own small way in whatever calling we are placed by the Lord.

Category: Hope for the Future


Stoodley Pike

(Wed 7-Sep-2016)

Last Friday, we visited Stoodley Pike, a monument commemorating the defeat of Napoleon, originally built in 1819 and rebuilt in 1856.

It’s quite a short walk from the Harvelin Park estate of Todmorden, but 180m of elevation change, so it was quite an effort to get up to it! (Google maps link) It was very windy at the top of the hill around the monument.

Stoodley Pike

There is staircase inside to a balcony 40 feet up, the whole monument is 121 feet tall.

Stoodley Pike

Category: Hodilays


Themed tours

(Mon 28-Mar-2016)

I love travelling around the UK. I like the idea of running tours for very small groups. Here are some ideas for holidays I’d love to take people on:

The Living History Tour:

  • Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans – An outdoor museum with more than forty buildings representing the architecture of Wales, including St Fagan’s “castle” (an elizabethean manor house) a nonconformist chapel, a village schoolhouse, a working blacksmith forge, and two working water mills: one flour mill and one wool mill. My favourite building is a row of terraced houses, with each house (and garden) set up and decorated in a different period style, starting with how it would originally have been, moving closer to the current day as you go along the row. There is also a small working farm; produce from the museum’s bakery and flour mill is available for sale.
  • Blists Hill Victorian Village at Ironbridge – A recreated Victorian village with Victorian characters such as a photographer, candlemaker and printer. Use old money in the sweet shop and fish and chip shop. Also visit The Iron Bridge, the first cast iron arch bridge in the world, and a scheduled ancient monument. These are in Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Crich Tramway Museum – A museum with over 60 trams, two to four will operate each day, running from Crich Tramway Village, a period village containing a pub, cafe, old-style sweetshop and tram depots, into nearby countryside with views over Derwent Valley on the edge of the Peak District. It’s about a mile from the gloriously named (and very picturesque) village of Whatstandwell.
  • Black Country Living Museum – Another open-air museum of rebuilt historic buildings. Like Blists Hill, it has costumed staff demonstrating activities in buildings within the village, and is in an area with a claim to be “the birthplace of the industrial revolution”. The museum also has a 1930s fairground and an extensive transport collection, with boats, busses, trolley buses, cars and motorcycles.

Other ideas

I’ll expand a bit more on these in the future, but I also have ideas for:

Victorian literature

Visiting Brontë country, home of Jane Austin, Dickens and filming locations for BBC adaptations.

Industrial revolution

Ironbridge, Quarry Bank Mill, Mining and pottery museums, Birmingham “back to backs” (working-class housing for factory workers).

Capital cities

Short (London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, possibly Belfast) and extended (add Tamworth, Winchester, York, Scone, Winchester) versions.

World War Two

Military museums, Blenheim Palace, and the National arboretum memorial.

Public transport

  • London underground museum
  • railway museums in York and Crewe
  • Manchester Transport museum
  • Tramway museum
  • trams in Blackpool

Roman history

Sites including Bath, the village of Wall, Chester and Hadrian’s Wall.

Food Tour

Top restaurants and traditional food production places like Wensleydale, Melton Mowbray, Cornwall.

Thrill seekers

  • theme parks
  • climbing and other outdoor activities
  • driving days

Staffordshire History

From the iron age Castle Ring, Cannock Chase, through Roman remains at Wall (near Lichfield), the Staffordshire Hoard, to industrial heritage – pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, brewing in Burton.

Category: Hodilays


Visit to the Whitworth Art Gallery

(Mon 27-Apr-2015)

I recently had a day to spend in Manchester with my children, so took them to Whitworth Art Gallery. Lauren and I had gone and taken Story once before, while Atticus was in nursery, and she’d been much more interested than I had expected, so I thought we’d go again.

Atticus was looking out of a window when Story called over to him, “Look at this!” – and showed him this:

Dove II, 1997, by Gary Hume

Atticus liked this.

They then saw “Genesis”, by Jacob Epstein, and both talked about “the lady has a baby in her tummy”:

There was an exhibition of work by Cornelia Parker. Atticus like two pieces which were made from Flattened instruments and flattened metal tableware suspended from the ceiling. The children showed no interest in in it, but I enjoyed a piece that was a cast of cracks in a pavement in Jerusalem.

Cornelia Parker’s most famous piece, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) was on display in its own room. On our previous visit, Story found it scary, and wanted to leave the room straight away. On this visit, Story still said it was “scary”, but was more willing to stop and look. Atticus was fascinated by it, and spent a long time looking at what he could see, and talking to the gallery staff in the room.

“Decoy” (a glass drum) caught Story’s attention last time, and Atticus was interested in it too.

We spent a while looking at watercolours, and Atticus seemed to like any with a river, and one of Lichfield Cathedral.

Atticus also liked Beast XXI, by Lynne Chadwick:

By this point, they were both starting to lose interest.

Mary Kelly, Multi-Story house (2007). I liked this, but didn’t get a good look because the children were getting restless. It has short pieces of writing about feminism on the panels to read and consider.

From here we went outside, where there was an activity for children to make their own pieces of art:

Story hard at work.

Atticus showing off some of his art.

Category: Hodilays


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