Life Update: Moving to Royal Birkdale

So me and my family have recently moved house, from the dump that St Helens was, and moved to Sunny Southport. It is why my posts haven’t been the most reliable or consistent.

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We are slowly getting used to it. It is nice to live somewhere where the neighbours will call out good morning to you or where you don’t fear your dog is going to stand on a syringe on the pavement. He is currently curled up by my feet, desperate for a bite of my pizza. He won’t be getting any haha.

But, when we were moving here, one of our main enquires were: what is there to do in Southport?

Royal Birkdale

Sourced from:

( Visit Southport )

We live in the the area called Birkdale and as you can see in the picture above, which has been taken near the train station, it has a beautiful little centre. There are Danish Pastry shops, Butchers, a Greengrocer, flower shops and plenty of cafe’s and restaurants. Whenever we have visited the centre, which is a 5 minute walk from our house, it has always been bustling but never too loud.

There are quite a few listed buildings in Birkdale, which include this early to mid 17th century thatched roof cottage.

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What is there to do in Southport?

Southport has a Marine Lake which is located on the Promanade, there you will also find Princes park and The Kings gardens. Just next to those parks, you have Victoria Park. Endless greenery.

I walked across the bridge of a weekend with some friends not that long back, and there were no rowdy groups of teenagers or gangs. We saw one or two but it was very quiet.

Botanical Gardens

If you head to Bankfield Lane you will find the botanical gardens, with the big trees. They boast a late Victorian garden with a lakeside cafe!




That is but a few of the amount of things I could list.

Have you ever been to Southport? Let me know. Take care!

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Murder in the crows

Hug the tree, feel the knots leave your body.

Hear the wood creak, the wind whistle.

The leaves sway.

Walk on the forest floor,

among long ferns.

The damp, cold moss underfoot.

Shoots of green peeking through,

glimpses of the future spring yet to come.

Feel the mist creeping,

sneaking quietly.

Closing in on you, suffocating you in a blanket of cold.

Deliciously all alone, in the sea of trees.

“Am I the only one here?”,

You say to anyone.


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You’re not by yourself.

The crows call to you.

Their language escaping you.

They cry out, dodging the branches as they dive down,

You look to see them, staring at you.

This is their calm. Not yours.

Suddenly, like a wave of panic,

Squawking, scrapping, feathers and claws.

The grey of the sky smeared now with black.

Murder in the air.


I wanted to write something a little differently today. I am not sure where I was going with it, but the gist of it was about stealing the calm. You walk into a calm and you start taking it when it doesn’t belong to you. It is a poem slash short story. I hope you enjoyed it haha.

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Chicken Makhani

Serves: 4 • Cooking time: 30 mins • Vegetarian alternative: Swap Chicken for Broccli. •

Chicken makhani

What you need:

  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tin of Coconut Milk
  • 2 knobbs of butter
  • 1 onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes.

Seasoning:

  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp Ground Garlic
  • 2 Tsp Fenugreek
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Cardamom
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
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Method:

Preheat the oven to 140°C. Finely Chop the onion. Put the 4 chicken breasts on a tray. Mix in a bowl with Olive Oil, Coriander, Paprika, Cumin, Chilli Powder and Garlic Powder. Mix and spread over the chicken evenly, spreading on both sides. Put in the oven and cook for 30 mins.

While your chicken is cooking, fry your onions in a pan with a little oil. Once soft, add the 2 knobs of butter and can of tomatoes. Add Nutmeg, Turmeric, Cinnamon and Cardamon.

When the chicken is ready, add the chicken to the sauce and add Coconut Milk. Throw in the Fenugreek. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, if you’re having rice put it on to boil.


To make this vegetarian friendly, swap the chicken for Broccli!


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The Maglocunus & Vortipor Stones – Nevern, Wales, UK

Nevern is a small village in the valley of Nevern, east of Newport in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

During August this year we stayed in Nevern with some friends on their plot of land. We stayed for 2 weeks, we had so much fun in on the beach, visting waterfalls, (see the 2 links below)

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But this time, I want to discuss some history of Nevern, and that starts with its church:

Nevern’s Church – St Brynach Church

This church is named after St Brynach of Pembrokeshire, who founded this place of worship here in the 5th century.

The Church (Source)

Inside the church, lays one of the finest Celtic language examples in Britain, dating to the 1st century AD:

The Maglocunus Stone

This is an ancient stone featuring Celtic Ogham script. What is Ogham? Well it is sometimes known as the ‘Celtic tree alphabet’. Monumental Ireland on the post lined to this picture, they say:

“It was designed to write ‘Old Irish’ and can be seen on stone monuments throughout the Country (Ireland), particularly in counties Cork & Kerry. (…) Some scholars believe it dates back to the 1st Century AD – as the language used shows pre-4th Century elements such as the letters q and z which do not appear in Modern Irish.

While all surviving Ogham inscriptions are on stone, it was probably more commonly inscribed on sticks, stakes and trees.

The origins of Ogham are uncertain: according to Irish mythology, it was invented by Ogma, the Irish god of speech, language, eloquence and learning. (…) .

Monumental Ireland.
(Source: Monumental Ireland)

The ancient stone is embedded into the window sill of the south wall of the nave of St Brynach Church.

What is quite interesting is that normally, Inscriptions are mostly peoples’ names and were used to mark ownership, territories and graves. This stone in particular we are talking about is on stone and was originally vertical. It was only turned horizontal so it could be set into the window.

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What does it say?

It is inscribed in Latin “MAGLOCUNI FILI CLUTORI” and in Ogham “maglicunas maqi clutari“, translated as (the stone) of Maglicu, son of Clutarias.

Who are these people? I will be writing another post on this as it gets very interesting. Keep a lookout!

In my research, I kept getting directed back to this book: KING ARTHUR: MAN OR MYTH, written by Tony Sullivan. It is “an investigation of the evidence for King Arthur based on the earliest written sources rather than later myths and legends.”

In this book, Tony writes about the stone in connection to Gildas and then Vortipor, the King of Demetia or modern day Dyfed/Southern Wales who lived approximately AD475-540.

Funnily enough, in Carmarthen, this is a stone dedicated to this king and on this stone are 2 inscriptions, almost identical to the Maglocunnus Stone, in that there is are Latin and Ogham inscriptions.

But why Latin & Ogham? The Romans brought Irish mercenaries across in the late 4th Century for protection from attacks by other Hibernians, (native of Ireland).

After the Romans left, the Irish Deisi (or Déssi) tribe of the County Waterford area ruled the region, hence the Ogham inscription as well as Latin. 

Territory Marker

Remember how I said that these stones were used as markers for territory? Well when this Vortipor Stone was found, it was originally one of a pair of boundary markers for an old track replaced by a new roman road. The Stone was moved and then stood near as stile on the southside of Castell Dwran Churchyard until 1879. There was a meadow next to where it stood and this meadow had evidence of hut-circles. This stone was only 200 meters off the line of the roman road, being used as a marker.

This may have been a continuation of roman customs such as the roadside burial, but also a tradition hinting to the Ogham origins for the inscriptions to be used as a marker for territories. Funny how things go full circle isn’t it?

Sadly, the assumption that the inscriptions on the stone, Voteporigis in the Latin and Votegorigas in ogham, refer to Vortipor, is refuted by modern linguistic analysis, which notes that the missing ‘r’ that is in the name ‘Vortipor’ and not in either of ‘Voteporigis’/’Votegorigas’ is significant, and so the stone must be dedicated to a different person.

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As you can see, I love history and language. I love the way both are intertwined and have an influence on each other. This is only part 1 of this mini series and next time I will be talking about who those 2 people are that were inscribed on the 1st stone I mentioned.

Did you enjoy reading? Please comment if you did!

Banana and Apple Smoothie

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

So, I recently started making this for when I feel I want a smoothie, but I don’t want all the hassle of loads of different ingredients. With this one, you are most likely to have these 3 main ingredients and even if you don’t have the others, it is still tasty and uplifting

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Ingredients:

Main:

  • 1 Apple, chopped up small into cubes or just bite sized pieces.
  • 1 banana, cut up small too.
  • 250ml of milk of your choice.

Extra:

  • A handful of blueberries
  • 1 Teaspoon of chocolate protein powder.

Method:

It is fairly straight forward, blend it all together in a blender such as a fruit ninja or nutri-bullet! Enjoy!


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Colliers Moss Common

This area was once one of the most industrial in the country, now it is a treasured part of St Helens, covered in trees and wildlife. What changed?

Bold Heritage

First of all, what is peat? It is dead compacted moss land. An industry was created in which turf cutters dug trenches to remove the peat which was then built into an array of thousands of pyramids spanning between 3 and 12 feet tall.

In 1955 the NCB, the National Coal Board, completed a £5.5 million investment into Bold Colliery.

The mine that was nearby was one of the most modern pits in all of Lancashire, with 1800 workers.

Sadly, there is such a thing called spoil with mining and this was more often than not just dirt mixed with rock and shale. It was taken by railway and offloaded onto Bold Moss. 23 years worth of this stuff equates to around 9 million tons. It caused massive environmental damage.

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Things started to change in 1978. The artificial hill that was made up of the mine’s sludge and the power station’s ash, reached a maximum height and the dumping stopped.

The Colliery stopped production in ’85 and 5 years after, British Coal agreed to the sell the site in order to restore it.

What had happened to the grounds as a result?

Well, during the 90’s, lots of work was undertaken to help ease the affects of the environmental damage that all those years of dumping had had on the land. Unfortunately, the soil was then very acidic which made it very hard for the plants to regrow.

Machines were used to loosen the soil, and then after lime & fertiliser had been introduced, grass heather and wildflower seeds were planted along with trees.

What is it like now?

The site is now a haven for wildlife and plants. Colonies of Orchids have spread on the common and new species of wildlife is arriving every year.

This is just one example of what is capable if spaces that were once abused, are looked after and restored to what they once were.

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Life Update: Moving to Royal Birkdale

So me and my family have recently moved house, from the dump that St Helens was, and moved to Sunny Southport. It is why my posts haven’t been the most reliable or consistent. We are slowly getting used to it. It is nice to live somewhere where the neighbours will call out good morning to…

Keep reading

Murder in the crows

Hug the tree, feel the knots leave your body. Hear the wood creak, the wind whistle. The leaves sway. Walk on the forest floor, among long ferns. The damp, cold moss underfoot. Shoots of green peeking through, glimpses of the future spring yet to come. Feel the mist creeping, sneaking quietly. Closing in on you,…

Keep reading

Chicken Makhani

Serves: 4 • Cooking time: 30 mins • Vegetarian alternative: Swap Chicken for Broccli. • What you need: 4 Chicken Thighs 1 tin of Coconut Milk 2 knobbs of butter 1 onion Olive Oil 1 can of chopped tomatoes. Seasoning: 1 Tsp Ground Coriander 1 Tsp Paprika 1 Tsp Cumin 1 Tsp Garlic Powder 1…

Keep reading

Banana and Apple Smoothie

So, I recently started making this for when I feel I want a smoothie, but I don’t want all the hassle of loads of different ingredients. With this one, you are most likely to have these 3 main ingredients and even if you don’t have the others, it is still tasty and uplifting Ingredients: Main:…

Keep reading

Cranberry and Raisin Soda Bread

Really easy and went down a treat in my house! It was eaten very quickly haha. This loaf is perfect spread with salty butter accompanied with a cuppa tea. You don’t need to be a pro baker to make this one! Ingredients: 1 1/2 plain flour 2 1/2 cups of bread flour for seedy bread.…

Keep reading

Lockdown, COVID & Travel.

(Updated information) 16th March 2020. The UK prime minister announces a ban on nonessential travel and contact. On the 26th, the first lockdown commences. Nonessential shops are closed. Students confined to accommodation. Flights are grounded. Shops run out of toilet roll as a result of panic buying. Dolphins return to Blackpool in the North. The…

Keep reading

Isle of Arran

My best friends family took me on their holiday to the Isle of Arran just before lockdown in the UK. Sadly, we weren’t able to travel all over the Island however we did visit the island’s main town – Brodick. Where is Arran? Isle of Arran is situated in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. Brodick…

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Isle of Man – Cregneash

Cregneash Cregneash is a small village and tourist destination in the south-west part of the Isle of Man, about 1 mi from Port Erin. Most of the village is now part of a living museum run by Manx National Heritage, and overlooks the beautiful blue sea! Cregneash is a living illustration of a farming and…

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The Needles, Isle of Wight

The history of the Isle of Wight dates back to the Iron Age, with much evidence of settlement being discovered through archaeology and ancient structures which still stand today.  The Needles History The Battery This military battery was built in 1861 to 1863, and its purpose was to protect the West end of the Solent…

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Danes Dyke

Danes Dyke is a nature reserve in Yorkshire, known for the wildlife that are here and the fantastic pebble beach. The coastline here is so special it is actually a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest and its seabird colonies mark it as a Special Protection Area. Where does it get its name from? “Danes…

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Steam Railways

We were on holiday on the Isle of Wight not long ago and were taken to a a place called Ryde. Here, they have a fully functional steam railway! The steam railway is only 5 miles long, which is only a small fraction of the once stretched over 55 miles long. How did it all…

Keep reading

Cranberry and Raisin Soda Bread

Really easy and went down a treat in my house! It was eaten very quickly haha. This loaf is perfect spread with salty butter accompanied with a cuppa tea.

You don’t need to be a pro baker to make this one!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 plain flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of bread flour for seedy bread.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda/ Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Raisins
  • Big handful of cranberries
  • 7 ounces soured cream
  • 1 teaspoon full fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Extra flour for dusting
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Method to the madness:

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a small bread tin with greaseproof.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cranberries and raisins and salt in a large mixing bowl.


In a medium mixing bowl whisk together sour cream and eggs until fully combined.


Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a sturdy spoon until combined. Batter will be thick and sticky.

It might appear quite runny, almost as runny as pancake batter, do not freak out! Mine was the same!
Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Lockdown, COVID & Travel.

(Updated information)

16th March 2020. The UK prime minister announces a ban on nonessential travel and contact.

On the 26th, the first lockdown commences. Nonessential shops are closed. Students confined to accommodation. Flights are grounded. Shops run out of toilet roll as a result of panic buying.

Dolphins return to Blackpool in the North. The UK recorded one of the best summer weather in years. The sky’s were quiet. Communities came together for a short time. Streets were filled with the sound of clapping for the NHS workers, delivery drivers and other essential workers. Windows were filled with rainbows in support of the NHS.

12th April 2021. Over a year later, most things open up a bit more, and then self-contained accommodation holiday’s were encouraged.

Lots of independent businesses closed as a result of lockdown, but how big of an impact did COVID have on the travel industry?

Travel industry struggling…..

During the first lockdown, accommodation and travel agency businesses saw the sharpest decline in turnover during the first national lockdown, falling to 9.3% of their February levels in May 2020.

Hays travel had to close 89 of their UK branches. This company provided work for the staff who came from Thomas Cook when that company closed down. This company is still active and continue to make their loyal customers happy.

“The family-run firm stepped in to take over all 555 Thomas Cook travel agencies – as well as 2,330 former staff – after the failure in September 2019.” – The Gaurdian.

(Source of Picture).

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What happened to the staff?

Well, about 450 staff  lost their jobs after a slump in business caused by the government’s sudden warning against travel to Spain.

Now this is a big company, and these 80+ branches are just a drop in the pool when you find out they have over 500 other branches to fall back on. When you’re a small company or just one shop/restaurant, the story is not the same…

In places like Greece and cities like Rome, restaurants not only need local residents to keep them going but they sometimes depend too on the tourism generated by local attractions. With lockdowns happening all over the globe, travellers were stopped from entering the country, which meant that small businesses that needed the income from holiday makers needed to close down or shut up shop.

Unemployment in Italy

Italy was the first European country to lockdown nationwide in an attempt to stop the spread. In March 2020, Italy’s industrial production fell almost 30%! The decline in unemployment started at the start of March and continued in April, reaching the lowest figure since 2007.

“Since July 2020, employment has started growing at a constant rate. However, employment levels in August 2020 are still 1.8% lower than the ones registered in August 2019. The drop in the number of employed is largely due to fixed term contracts not being renewed.”

IZA

According to Statista, Forecasts published in April 2021 expect that the unemployment rate in Italy will stand at 10.3 percent this year, an increase compared to 2020.

8.4 Million people are currently unemployed in Italy.

(Picture: GFM)

We can see on this chart, (provided by Trading Economics), that the numbers stayed at 9.3 percent in August of 2021, unchanged from July.

This is promising and can bring hope for those who are trying to find work, but as we have seen, nothing is ever guaranteed.


In conclusion, it is easy to see that everything is connected and that when one part of the chain is affected, the rest suffer too. Those who have been affected badly by Coronavirus, whether it is physically, mentally, emotionally or financially, I hope you are soon able to find some relief from your struggles.


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