Strolling and Street Art in Sheffield

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We went to Yorkshire Cosplay Con in Sheffield a few weeks ago so Phillip could do his thing and take lots of awesome cosplay photos (check out his ColobusYeti Instagram feed to see some of his work!). He got two press passes so I went along as the plus one. Now I like a little manga, anime and sci-fi, 2 days of it though is kinda not my thing. So one of the days I took myself exploring the streets of Sheffield so I could see some of its famed street art. Visual art means lots of photos and not so many words…a change from many of my posts. Hope you enjoy!

 

Charles Street:

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Brown Lane:

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Brown Street:

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On the wall of the Rutland Arms

 

Sidney Street:

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Even the skips are arty!

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Sylvester Street car park:

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Arundel Street:

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Here I found a suitable arty place to stop for lunch called ‘The Holt‘ where I had a rather scrumptious TLT (smoked tofu, lettuce and tomatoes with vegan mayo) and a lovely soy cappuccino.

 

 

Street art is not for everyone and some will see this as plain old grafitti possibly. I’m not a fan of someone simply lazily spraying their name without any real effort put in to it. This though felt like it gave character and life to this part of Sheffield and I for one loved it.

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Harry Brearley – inventor of stainless steel

 

 

The Life in Your Years

 


“It’s not the years in your life that matter…it’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln (*possibly*)


I had a completely different article in mind to write today. Instead I came across this article on the BBC website about journalist Helen Fawkes who died earlier this month.  It talks about how she faced her cancer with a ‘list for living’, blogging about her experiences both with cancer and with life. It made me cry as all too often stories like this do, I cry for myself.

This is quite a raw post for me to write and I feel more exposed and vulnerable than normal. I had a bone marrow transplant in 2001 for chronic myeloid leukaemia and have spent the 16 years since often grieving for the life I thought I would live before I received my diagnosis.  I have spent those years torn between fear of living and fear of not living enough. I am often paralysed, stuck between wanting to live, to experience this life to the full and yet unable to do so, terrified of what could go wrong.

I lost me after my transplant, I lost that person with dreams and plans for the future.  I wasn’t that person anymore and it took a whole lot of hard times, of fighting to get back to ‘normal’, to realise that person had gone and I was causing myself harm by holding on to that image of me.  Eventually I stopped looking back so much and looked for who I was now, for where I wanted life to take me.

My mind had other ideas though. It was almost like it saw me getting hold of myself and putting myself back together…and didn’t like it one little bit.  So it threw health anxiety into the mix.  Understandable perhaps given what had happened to me, the physical effects my treatment continues to have on me, the death of my brother and of Phillip’s parents.

Still it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to cope with. Constantly worrying whether this or that is a sign of something that is going to kill me, sheer overwhelming panic that I am going to die and the battling that goes on between my fear of doing anything and my fear of not doing anything, of not doing enough. I am tired of living like this.

So this article about Helen who faced her diagnosis with such a positive and open attitude really got to me.  She lived her life knowing her time was limited and determined to fit in as much as she possibly could. I cried for the years I feel I have wasted in not grasping hold of this life with both hands. It is such a brief, amazing, fleeting life we live and I am so aware of a need to make the most of it.  Too aware maybe.

I can’t do anything about what is in the past. Those years, all that time I feel I have wasted, well that is unchangeable.  And the future, who knows.  All I have is now, I need to stop worrying and put more life into my years.  So I am going to borrow Helen’s idea of a ‘list for living’ and fill it with things from the normal to the possibly impossible.  I don’t want a bucket list, that feels too much like having to achieve a list of things before I die.  I want things to aim for, I want to celebrate this life and I want to live it not simply be alive for it.

When my list is more than an idea, when it itself has life, I will share it with you. For encouragement, for support, for the sheer kick in the backside I will probably need to push through my worries to actually do this.  If you have any suggestions for my list, share away please!

If you are interested in reading about Helen’s story in her own words, take a look at her blog.

Sunday Sunrise

Took ourselves off in our little Bongo for an overnight stop at Tan Hill Inn ~ the highest pub in the UK last night.

We had a slight food issue which was a little grrr.  Phoned to ask if they could cater for a vegan, they said yes, got there and they said no!  This inn is on the middle of nowhere and we had already sampled a couple of beers so we were driving nowhere.  Luckily we had enough breakfast with us to eek out 2 meals.  Oh and some frazzles!

The surroundings of the peaceful Yorkshire Moors with sheep and birds more than made up for it and this beautiful sunrise would have been worth missing a meal for (*possibly*).  Beautiful spot, beautiful morning.  Happy Sunday everyone!

‘Everyday Inspiration’: wrap it up

Finally I have escaped the dreaded work deadline that has been hanging over my head and sucking up all my time these last couple of weeks! So I am back and ready to blog. First up, here’s that summary I promised on the Everyday Inspiration course I finished what seems like months ago now…


Day Twenty: Wrap It Up


And now, the end is near…yep it is the final day of the ‘Everyday Inspiration’ course that I have been doing over here on lovely WordPress.  Funnily enough they have made the last task a wrap-up piece, a look back over the course…never saw that coming…

I choose to take part of my curiosity about some ‘whats’ ~ what do I want from my blog, what I do want to write about and what direction or focus do I want to take?  Sprinkle in a few ‘whys’ ~ why do I write and why do I blog? ~ and that gives you a glimpse of the me that started this course.

It has given me both answers to those questions and at the same time given more questions about how and why I write and what I write about.  Stretching my writing muscles and trying new things has been an interesting experience.  I have not always been brave enough or pleased enough with the results to publish what I have written, I have though written and learnt **

Has taking part in this made me a better writer or blogger?  I don’t really know and maybe it is not for me to decide.  I am not even sure I would be able to answer, I would be too busy looking at what could be better or what I feel is still missing…the damn perfectionist in me hasn’t quite let go yet despite my efforts.  It has certainly given me ideas and shown me blogging doesn’t have to be simply spilling out word after word from my over active mind.

All tasks taught me something, either about my writing or about myself.  These three are the ones that go ‘hey I was really special though’…

Home is Everywhere and it is Anywhere – based on the single word ‘home’ this piece struck a chord with me and with people I shared it with on social media, it reminded me how home is not one building or place.

Dear Tokyo, I miss you– writing a letter to something rather than to a person is a style of writing that was completely out of my comfort zone and I so nearly backed out of it.  I didn’t and was really rather chuffed with the result.

If we were having coffee right now… – This task introduced me to a new way of writing and I loved it!  I will probably introduce it to my blog as a more regular feature.

So now the course is over and what comes next?  A little part of me is concerned that without the focus and prompts given by the course I may lose my way.  Right where’s that positive hat I don’t wear often enough?  Okay found it, yes I may be a little concerned but what sort of anxious person would I be without some worry?  Worrying is nothing new to me.  Accepting that and with my little hat on, I will continue to write, explore new ideas and share my thoughts with you all.  The focus and style for this blog will come together in time, my little thoughts will find their big voice.

**I may have missed a couple of tasks out…**

Hello…I am still here…

I haven’t forgotten about you all or my little blog I promise!  Life has been a little…well busy…and I was feeling a little overwhelmed so something had to give before my sanity did.  

Feeling slightly more on stable ground now so hopefully will follow this quick update with some more blog posts soon (the doofus that I am forgot that I had a couple of drafts ready to go including the summary of my Everyday Inspiration course…doh). 

Catch up with you all soon!

In Love with a Map


Day Seventeen: A Map as Your Muse


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I have a confession to make.  I once fell in love with a map book and still have feelings for it.  There, I have said it.  I hope you don’t think any less of me…

Maps have always been kinda fascinating to me, all those lines everywhere, all those different places and things out there to discover.  They seem to hold endless possibilities for exploration and adventure.  Maybe they appeal because they show the way and to someone still trying to find their way in life, that attracts.  I had never though got as excited by a map as I did with this one.

As part of our Big Adventure we travelled round New Zealand in a motor home for 4 weeks.  Tucked away in the glove box was this map book, quietly unassuming, waiting for me to pick it up.  Once I did, I was hooked and would often exclaim ‘this is such a good map book’ (often = daily…possibly more than once…)

Although we had a plan of where we would be travelling to, we chose places to stay as we went and this map simply had all the information we needed – DOC campsites, dump stations, sightseeing spots and of course the roads!  We learnt names of mountains and lakes, saw spots used in the Lord of the Ring films, changed routes because we saw something interesting on the map, found random places to stay.

The map book became as much as part of our travels in New Zealand as the motor home was or we were.  I can’t think of our time there without thinking of it.  I fell in love with it so much that I didn’t want to part with it.  Asking anyone for anything is not really in my comfort zone especially if they might think I’m odd or there is a chance they might say no.  This map book pushed me to do something I am very anxious about and I happily carried my map onto my onward flight from Auckland.

I may never return to New Zealand and may never ever need to use that map again.  The sight of it though makes me happy, it brings back memories of that trip, reminds me of freedom and most of all it reminds me that I can be brave.  Who’d have thought a map book could do all of that.

If we were having coffee right now…

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Hello!  Let’s get our drinks, grab some comfy chairs and have a catch up.  I’ll have a coffee with oat milk today, what about you?  Biscuit or cake?  Nothing for me thanks, I bought some vegan snacks to sneak nibbles of whilst the staff aren’t looking.

If we were having coffee right now, we would exchange greetings, hugs and the usual ‘how are you?’, ‘ooh I like that top/pin/etc’ and weather comments that form a typical part of any get-together.  I would apologise for sneezing and sniffing my way through our coffee date and grumble about having allergies before sniggering at making people jump with an extra loud sneeze.

If we were having coffee right now, I would be all pleased with myself because I am still going jogging.  I have only managed to go out twice a week since we last met rather than the three times which is my goal and I am fairly happy with that because…I am still going jogging!  The jogging without music and paying attention to my body seems to be working a treat too and I am actually not minding the experience.  Oddly I don’t seem to think much when running and that is quite a wonderful relief from my over active mind.

If we were having coffee right now, I tell you how frustrated I am that I still can’t think of a new name for my blog.  As you know I want to decide the new name before I move to self hosting the blog and am feeling all sorts of ‘grrr’ that this is holding me up.  I have come up with plenty of names ranging from the naff to the ‘ooh I really like that one…oh someone already has it’.  I would ask for your ideas….

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you sadly how I am thinking of closing down my little button jewellery business Mr B’s Button Jamboree.  I am very proud of myself for setting it up in the first place and what I have achieved with it, I simply don’t seem to have to time to give to it anymore or develop it in the way I once wanted to.  It doesn’t really fit into my future plans ~ no I am not telling you what they are right now, those are something for another coffee date so patience!

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that next week I am off to sunny Sheffield for the weekend.  It is not a pleasure visit as such though I am sure it will be a fun time.  ColobusYeti is taking photos at Yorkshire Cosplay Con and I am tagging along for the ride.  I’d excitedly show you their website which has photos scrolling across the main page…most of which are his from last year’s event!  So next weekend will be a interesting mix of cosplay, working wherever I can find a spot and exploring Sheffield.

Ooh is that the time?!  I’d best go now.  Thanks for joining me lovely, it was great to see you!  Lets do this again soon yes?  Big hug and goodbye ❤