Category Archives: Just saying

Glastonbury 2017 – One Line Reviews

Glastonbury 2017 was fantastic. I love the wear-what-you-like vibe, the bright flags, colourful bins, Brothers cider, weird stuff, amazing food, the giant fire and music blasting spider, and the fact it’s acceptable to wash down your breakfast with a gin. There is also some music going on. Here are my one line reviews of who we saw:

Glass Animals (Friday, BBC Introducing Stage) – Nice and chilled.

Blossoms (Friday, Pyramid Stage) – I’d prefer them if he cut his hair.

Declan McKenna (Friday, John Peel Stage) – Pleasant to sleep to.

George Ezra (Friday, Other Stage) – Good soundtrack to DIY henna tattoos.

Radiohead (Friday, Pyramid Stage) – Watched for 40 minutes and didn’t know any songs so went to the circus instead.

In Heaven (Saturday, John Peel Stage) – Background music to more henna tattoos.

The Amazons (Saturday, John Peel Stage) – Gave me an appetite to eat junk food.

Busted (Saturday, Avalon Stage) – Should have headlined Friday night.

Katy Perry (Saturday, Pyramid Stage) – Unexpectedly brilliant.

Birdy (Saturday, Avalon Stage) – Soundtrack to UV face painting.

Foo Fighters (Saturday, Pyramid Stage) – Awesome.

Dropkick Murphy (Sunday, Other Stage) – Fun but a bit screamy.

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man (Sunday, Other Stage) – Expected better but he’s only human.

Kodaline (Sunday, Other Stage) – Nice to relax with a gin to.

Haim (Sunday, Other Stage) – Pleasant to sleep off gin to.

Biffy Clyro (Sunday, Pyramid Stage) – Bifftastic.

Ed Sheeran (Sunday, Pyramid Stage) – Fun, jam packed Sunday sing-a-long.




How we Made a Reindeer for the Garden

We made garden reindeer by attending the reindeer making workshop at Wimpole Estate.

Ciaran, from the gardening team, made it look easy as he demonstrated how to do it.

How to Make Reindeer - Wimpole Estate Gardener

Now it was our turn to create a creature. We gathered up the materials:

  • A log for the body
  • A smaller log for the head
  • Four long sticks for legs
  • A shorter stick for the neck
  • Two sticks for ears
  • A conkers for the nose
  • A pine cone for the tail
  • Twigs for the antlers
  • A mallet
  • Glue
  • A nail to attach the nose
  • A staple and wire to attach the tail

Materials to make a reindeer

Ciaran had kindly drilled the holes already so we just had to fill the holes with glue and set about assembling our masterpieces.

Wooden reindeers
The finished product!

Transporting two  reindeer in a Renault Clio was probably the trickiest part.

One reindeer went to live at the Moomins’ house and the other was released into the wilds of our garden where it was soon greeted by the other residents.

Rabbit and reindeer
When Pongo met Twiggy


Saying hello nicely
Saying hello nicely!

Fozzy greeted the reindeer nicely and then decided she needed to get to know it a little better by sniffing it’s bottom.

Dog sniffing wooden reindeers bottom
Getting to know the reindeer better!

Merry Christmas!

12 Ways to get in the Christmas Spirit

You’ve heard of the 12 days of Christmas. Well here are the 12 ways of Christmas.

12 ways to get in the Christmas spirit:

1    Watch your favourite festive movies. I can’t wait to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas! And if it’s on TV you might even get to see the annual heart-warming John Lewis advert or the Coca-Cola truck during the ad breaks too

2    Count down the days. Make an advent calendar to give yourself a special treat each day. It could be a chocolate, a biscuit or a beer.

3    Visit a Christmas market. The hustle and bustle and smell of gluhwein and bratwurst will get you feeling festive. Find Christmas markets, grottos, the Coca-Cola truck stops and other festive events here.

4    Put up the Christmas tree and decorations. The more tinsel, lights, glitter and sparkle the better!

5    Drink Christmas beverages. I’m a sucker for marketing ploys and get way too excited when Starbucks release their red Christmas cups. Warm up with a Christmas spice coffee blend or if you prefer something stronger, relax with a mulled wine, Advocaat or a warm mug of hot spiced cider.

6    Bake! Fill the house with merry smells by making mince pies, Christmas cake or the Christmas pudding.

7    Wear a Christmas jumper. Cute, classic or funny, you’ll be sure to raise a smile and help spread the Christmas cheer! Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day is on Friday 16th December 2016.

8    Go to a pantomime. Christmastime means panto season. I’m not sure why as Aladdin, Robin Hood or Dick Whittington aren’t particularly festive tales but anyway, get down to your local theatre or village hall and enjoy some audience participation. Where’s the grumpy humbug? It’s behind you.

9    Listen to Christmas songs. Put on your favourite Christmas album, turn the volume up and have a good old singalong!

10    Wrap up presents and write out cards. Those festive scenes and the thought of your loved ones opening their gifts will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

11    Take a tour of decorated houses. Some people go all out, lighting up their houses and gardens with inflatable Santas, lit up snowmen and flashing lights. Show your appreciation by leaving a donation in their charity collection box if they have one.

12    Enjoy a party. Whether it’s with your friends, family or work colleagues, wear a silly hat, pull crackers and tell bad jokes. It’s all part of the fun.

Merry Christmas!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr.Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Seven Reasons to Attend the St Neots Film Festival

The St Neots Film Festival is almost here! If you haven’t got your ticket yet then what are you waiting for?

Festival details

Dates: Monday 7th and Thursday 10th November at Cineworld and
Friday 11th November at Loves Farm House

Times: 6pm to 9pm

Tickets: £8 for a festival pass (both nights at Cineworld), £5 for one evening at Cineworld, £2.50 for the final evening at Loves Farm House (available on the door)

Buy tickets here.

Here are seven great reasons why you should go:

To be entertained

Clearly the main highlight of a film festival is the films. Filmmakers have been submitting their short movies throughout the year and the organisers have selected the best to be showcased at the festival. Films are a maximum of 20 minutes long. This is great for people with a short attention span (like me) and means you get to see a diverse selection of films each evening.

To discover local talent

Films have been submitted from local children, teens and adults. Movies by Cambridge based film making groups Little Victories Films and Ruptured Screen will be on show as will short films made by St Neots based Channel 7 Productions.

To support the local community

The event has been organised by local people who are keen to unveil film making talent. The festival has gained support from sponsors including Lovett Sales and Lettings, Neotists, St Neots Film Club and Cineworld.

To meet great people

Grab your popcorn and settle down for a top evening of entertainment. But take a look around. You could be sitting alongside the stars, directors and producers of the films you are watching.

To see your home town on the big screen

I love seeing places I have been on films.  With many films made by local people on show, there is a high chance that the settings will be the places you know and love too.

It’s great value for money

Festival passes (for both evenings at Cineworld) are £8. The final evening at Loves Farm House is just £2.50. Where else can you get three evenings’ (nine hours’) worth of entertainment for £10.50?

To be inspired

The films will definitely entertain, probably make you think, and maybe even inspire you to go out and create something awesome yourself.

See you there!

Buy tickets here.

Help to spread the work by sharing this blog post and following St Neots Film Festival on social media:

Twitter: @StNeotsFilmFest

A non-gardeners Guide to Brightening your Garden

I love outdoor living but gardening is not really my thing so I decided to brighten up the garden by other means.

After a trip to Budapest, I was inspired by the colourful and quirky ruin bars, particularly Szimpla Kert, pictured below.

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar BudapestSzimpla Kert Ruin Bar Budapest upper levelSzimpla Kert Ruin Bar flags, BudapestI purchased some spray paints in a variety of colours and gathered some items to spruce up. I already had dining room chairs, terracotta pots, a hammock stand and a lantern and I picked up a child’s bike (purely for decorative purposes) and a table from the local recycling centre.

Our rabbits like to eat the grass in the back garden and probably wouldn’t like the taste or toxicity of spray paint so I lay down a sheet in the front garden, moved my car well out of the way, and started spraying.

Plain pots before spray painting Chairs, hammock stand, lantern and pot Table and bike from the scrap yard

I was really pleased with the results.

Colourful chairs Colourful table Colourful table, bike and pots

I found an unusual plant pot  to add extra decoration but Fozzy, our mini-labradoodle, did not approve.

The newly painted furniture was arranged in the corner of the garden and flags added to brighten up the wall.

Colourful garden with flags

The garden was now ready to be enjoyed by friends and family at the barbecue of the year.

Party at Fort Bull-Knox

Eleven Things I Learned at Glastonbury 2015

I’m not going to Glastonbury this year but here are my tips for those who are.

Sunflowers and Stories

They say you learn something new every day. Here are some things I learned at Glastonbury 2015:

  1. Baby wipes are your friend but they don’t taste very nice.
  2. Weather apps lie.
  3. Lionel Ritchie is, a) popular, and b) American.
  4. The stinky unwashed feeling eases after a few days.
  5. A pint of Brothers cider is cheaper than potato wedges.
  6. A bit of mud never harmed anyone.
  7. If a sign says don’t enter, do enter. Especially if a mud caked Irish man guards the entrance while hurling abuse in a friendly manner.
  8. Cardboard shewees are not to be trusted.
  9. Backwards is forwards, up is down, and fun is to be found in the rabbit hole.
  10. Holding an inflatable sperm high in the air while navigating the crowds is an effective way of keeping a group together.
  11. Glastonbury rocks!

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Make a Movie on Your Phone and See it on the Big Screen

St Neots Film Festival is calling for submissions. And with the amazing technology in smartphones, and a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can shoot a great movie.

Film makers can be any age and do not need to be experts. Why not press record and have a go?

Once you have an idea, write out a script, assemble your cast and get filming. Practise makes perfect so don’t expect to film a BAFTA winner first time around. Experiment with your phone, try filming in different lights and test out the settings on your camera.

It’s possible to edit your film on your phone and there are many apps available. However, you may find it easier to edit on a PC using Windows Movie Maker or another programme. Again, there are plenty to choose from. Check out techradar’s article: Best free video editing software: 2016’s top movie making applications.

Submit your short film (up to 20 minutes) online here: and you could see it on the big screen at St Neots Film Festival this Autumn.

Happy movie making.

Dog Friendly Pub Crawl in St Neots

Gone are the days when we attempted the legendary Crown to town pub crawl through Eaton Socon to St Neots town centre. Not only have we attempted and failed this many times but we also have responsibilities now. These responsibilities come in the shape of a fluffy white dog named Fozzy. This Saturday, in honour of Lemming’s birthday, we decided to try a dog friendly pub crawl instead. Here is the route we took:

Map of Dog Friendly Pub Crawl in St Neots
The route

The Rivermill

The Rivermill pub, St Neots
First stop, The Rivermill

We often walk Fozzy from St Neots, through the campsite and along the river to this pub. Dogs are welcome downstairs in the bar area, and a jar of treats can be found on the bar. If it’s a nice day it’s great to sit outside and look out at the boats on the river. Doggie water bowls are available and most of the benches are smoke free (which to me is an unusual bonus for an outside area) but there are a couple of benches at the end for smokers.

Dog pulling person across grass
Fozzy taking Abi for a walk

The White Horse

The White Horse pub, St Neots
The White Horse

A short trot across the green took us to The White Horse. The outside bar was open but the music was way too loud and the decked area around it was empty. Small people played on the bouncy castle and ran around with toy guns. The beer garden is huge so we found a relatively peaceful bench on the grassed area. Dogs are welcome in the bar area which is quiet and traditional.

The Old Sun

The Old Sun pub, St Neots
The Old Sun

Not far down the road is The Old Sun. Dogs are welcome in the bar and football is often shown on the many TV screens. The decked area at the back of the pub tends to be in the shade but the pub has created a roped off, astro-turfed area with benches and doggie water bowls next to the car park. Although it’s not particularly scenic it did allow us to sit in the sun a little longer.

The Waggon and Horses

The Waggon and Horses pub, St Neots
Food stop at The Waggon and Horses

Across the road is another regular haunt, the Waggon and Horses. This is a Cask Marque pub which apparently is good news for ale drinkers. There are a couple of benches outside in the sun but they are next to the main road. The sun was starting to drop now anyway so we headed inside where dogs are welcome in the bar area. By this time we needed food and this was a good place to get it.

The Barley Mow

The Barley Mow pub, St Neots
The Barley Mow

We walked along the Great North Road towards town and dropped in at the George and Dragon, where dogs are usually allowed. However, a live band was due to play so dogs had to take a night off. We carried on down to The Barley Mow where treats were immediately offered to Fozzy. This is also a Cask Marque pub and was showing the Champions League Final.

The Barley Mow pub, St Neots
The Barley Mow

The Bridge House

The Bridge House pub, St Neots
The Bridge House

We made it over the bridge and into town where we finished our pub crawl with a couple of games of pool in The Bridge House. Dogs are welcome in the bar and the landlady brought a treat over to Fozzy. It was dark and chilly by now but this is another good place to sit outside and look out across the river on a nice day.

We thought about continuing on to Ye Olde Sun, where dogs are allowed in the bar, but made a rare but wise decision to call it a day and head home.

Please feel free to comment with any other dog friendly pubs near St Neots.

Football: It’s a Game of Too Many Clichés

Football is a simple game. Two teams use their feet to try and get the ball into the opposition’s goal. That’s it in a nut shell! But by the time we reach adulthood we have eaten, slept and breathed so much football that it’s coming out of our ears. And we have heard so many football clichés that we can’t help them from pouring out of our mouths, even when they make no sense at all!

Take a look at an under 7s game on a Saturday morning:

The coach calls the team in and they all huddle round waiting for some words of wisdom from their mentor. “These are our bogey team,” he says. “They are nothing special though. We just didn’t turn up last time.”

A child puts his hand up, “We turned up,” he says, pointing around at the friends he remembers being there.

“Yes I know you turned up,” says the coach. “I just mean, never mind. We need to keep a clean sheet today.”

The children exchange confused looks, wondering where bogeys and laundry come into the game.

Not to be deterred, the coach continues, “Remember, keep your shape. Push forward. Clear your lines. Use the ball. Grind out a result. Does everyone understand that?”

Ten blank faces stare back at him.

He holds up a whiteboard. “Okay, we are going to play as a diamond today. This is the starting line-up. The rest of you are on the bench.”

The substitutes look around. There is a bench further across the field but it seems a long way from the pitch.

The referee calls the captains in and the teams line up for their pre-match handshake.

“Get stuck in,” says the coach. “Be ready from the off. Go out fighting!”

The referee shoots the coach a warning look as the players shake hands.

The game kicks off and the children begin to play. But the opposition are on the attack and the team concede a corner. The coach shouts to a defender, “Jonny! Hug the post!”

Jonny approaches the post and eyes it up warily but decides against hugging it.

The ball falls to Jonny. “Away, away,” shouts the coach.

“Kick it out,” screams a woman from the side of the pitch.

“Get rid of it” shouts Jonny’s dad.

Jonny swings a leg and desperately kicks the ball off the pitch for a throw in to cheers from the side-lines.

Back in play, the ball bounces into some space in the box a few metres away from a small boy who hasn’t yet touched the ball. A man on the side-line who looks like his playing days are long gone and leisure activities now consist of drinking beer and eating burgers shouts, “Carry it.”

The boy looks puzzled but as instructed, bends down and picks up the ball to carry it.

Screams of “Handball!” come from the opposition parents.

The man with the beer belly shouts at the boy: “No, what are you doing?”

The boy looks even more confused. The referee points to the penalty spot.

The opposition striker, who is twice the size of the other children steps up and places the ball on the penalty spot. The tiny goalkeeper stands eyes wide like a rabbit in the spot light in the middle of the massive goal.

“Make yourself big!” comes a voice from the side.

“Fill the goal,” adds another unhelpfully.

The whistle blows and the striker takes his shot. The ball whizzes past the keeper who turns dejectedly to pick the ball out from the back of the net.

The half time whistle sounds and the children gather around the coach. “We’re letting them pull the strings,” he says. “They’re playing us off the park. We’ve lost our shape. We’re being sucked in and giving the ball away too cheaply. We need to hold the ball up in midfield.”

The children look worried after the earlier hand ball incident.

The coach continues. “Freddie, I need you to sweep up behind the defence. Can you do that please?”

Freddie nods, wondering where he can find a broom.

The second half starts and the team win a free kick. “Let Tommy take it,” shouts the coach. “He knows how to hit a dead ball.”

Tommy scores to the cheers of the parents. The coach is jubilant. “Well done. Now get another and put this game to bed. We’ve got it sewn up. It’s in the bag.”

The ball falls to Amy in front of the goal. “Shoot,” shouts her dad.

“Pass it,” shouts her mum.

“Run with it,” shouts the coach.

Amy miskicks the ball in her panic.

“She’s sliced it again,” says the coach, throwing his hands in the air.

The opposition are in control now and look likely to score again. “It’s backs to the wall now lads…and lassie,” shouts the coach. “Dig in deep. Let the ball do the work. Park the bus. The ball never gets tired. Leave everything on the pitch.”

A constant stream of gibberish continues to be heard from the side of the pitch throughout the game: “Drop in. Pick it up. Square it. Tuck in. Hold. Sit in!” It’s no wonder some kids would prefer to play their video games, at least they can enjoy them in peace without someone shouting nonsense in their ear.

The children will eventually learn that much of the advice isn’t much use and block it out anyway. So let’s just keep quiet and let them enjoy the game. They’ve plenty of time to learn the strange language of football. Let the children play and they’ll be sticking the ball in the onion bag before you know it.

What are your favourite or pet peeve football clichés?