Southwell Ploughing Show


On Saturday the 24th September the annual Southwell ploughing match and show is being held and this year it is at Farnsfield NG22 8HB, I am looking forward to it with both excitement and nervousness as this will be the first time that I will be exhibiting and selling my goods to the public. This years main ring attraction will be the ‘IMPS’  the Imps are a motorcycle display team that were founded in the 1970s and I’m told that they will be doing a fire jump, cross-over’ routine and much more, I was also surprised to hear that their youngest member is only five years old! There is a lot more besides including the ploughing match with both tractors and also the Heavy Horses (shire horses) all dressed up in their regalia, There is also show jumping,vintage static steam, hedging competition, dog show, sheep, cattle, Horses and private driving. Apart from all the things I’ve already listed there are hundreds of exhibitors ranging from jewellery up to farming machinery such as combine harvesters. I must say that this is a great day out for all the family and the kids will certainly not be wanting to go home because they are bored. I will advise you that if your going to visit the show and you have got children take a pack up and refreshments just to save a bit of money, on the other hand if you like a hog roast I can certainly recommend it. I would also suggest that if you are going to make a day of it that you wear sensible shoes or boots. Finally if you are going to visit the show that you drop in the arts and crafts marquee and visit my stall even if it’s just to say hello. Look forward to seeing you there.


How To Pick The Right Craft Fair

Before I started the Engraving business I had been to a few craft fairs locally to see what they were all about and having savoured the atmosphere decided that this was something that I wanted to do, but I have made some mistakes along the way – running before I can walk comes to mind – so I sought advice from a few people who actually do the fairs. Here are a couple of pointers that I was given,

Be a Customer First – I was advised to attend the show or Fair first and to just walk the aisles and talk to the stall holders, get a feel for the quality of the goods and also the price and more importantly look at the products for sale and see whether the products we sell would fit in. I was also advised to ask the sellers what other fairs they frequent, recommend and which ones I should avoid.

Create a Budget – Looking in from the outside, running a successful stall at a craft fair appears to be relatively inexpensive, but when it was pointed out to me that I needed to factor in the cost of the booth ,material cost, marketing and promotional material (flyers and business cards), table, inventory, travel costs and in some cases a permit it soon became apparent I definitely needed to create a budget that I would be comfortable with.

Take Small Steps – Although I have been told this a few times it was still sound advice. Becoming successful selling your products at any arts and craft fairs like any business requires a huge investment of time, money and effort. So before committing it may be worthwhile experimenting to see whether it is suitable for us. This could be as simple as sharing borrowing or renting a booth with another seller before committing. Thanks Tony and Bev I may take you up on that and many thanks for also taking the time to give me some sound advice.

Writing A Love Letter

When was the last time you communicated with your partner verbally or wrote them a love letter expressing your love for them. In this day and age we seem to have forgotten how to do the simple things and with technology it is far easier to send a text message or an email and in some cases it’s easier to nod and grunt rather than have a meaningful conversation.

If were honest with ourselves our lives seem to have become busier and more often than not communication with our partners ceases. But when we forget to say three little words – I Love You – often enough our connection to one another begins to suffer, usually so slowly that we don’t even  notice that we are drifting apart from each other.

The experts state that one important way of couples expressing their love for each other but is sadly overlooked in this fast paced society is the written word, and when they say written they mean with your hands a pen and paper – not tapped on that smart phone with the tips of your fingers.

I was clearing out my attic the other day and I found a box and stored in it were all the letters that both my wife and I had written to each other all those years ago when we were courting.

Below are a few “ I Love You” quotes to help you get started with the perfect love letter, so go on surprise yourself and more importantly your partner, you never know it may be the start of an epic journey.

  1. Sometimes I feel like my heart will burst with all of the longing and excitement I feel when I think of you.
  2. They say you only fall in love once, but that can’t be true… Every time I look at you, I fall in love all over again.
  3. I love you to the moon and back.
  4. With you, forever won’t be too long.
  5. I never knew how joyous life could be, until I saw your face.
  6. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.
  7. If you need to hear why I love you, I can go on all night.
  8. Maybe you don’t need the whole world to love you. Maybe you just need one person.
  9. I could search my whole life through and through and never find another you.
  10. When you feel alone, just look at the spaces between your fingers, and remember that’s where my fingers fit perfectly.

Walking Along The Canal

What a glorious morning it was this morning, so nice that I decided to take my two dogs Bonnie and Clyde for the first of many walks along the Nottingham Canal to Beeston and then come back along the River Trent. To get to the canal from where I live we walked through the Park Estate. A beautiful private estate with lots of big old Victorian houses. We also pass Nottingham Castle just before getting to the canal. Once on the tow path of the canal we walked for about six miles to Beeston taking in all the wildlife, and the peace and quite away from the hustle and bustle of city life is amazing when you consider we are only five minutes away from the city centre. It’s also nice to let the dogs off their leads to explore all the new sights and smells. It’s amazing how the canal changes through the season, as you walk along the canal there is a great mixture of industrial buildings on one side and wildlife on the other, It makes you think how busy it must have been in its glory years. It is also nice to see that the wildlife have taken up residence on the industrial side away from the dangers of animals and human intervention. On todays walk we saw the ducks with their little ones we also saw swans, moorhens, a vole, rat and a Heron not to forget the fish jumping. When we finally get to Beeston there are the Locks for the boats and barges to get from the canal to the River Trent. I normally walk to the Beeston weir and then turn back and head towards the city on the cycle path that the council has built and although I like the peace and tranquillity when out with the dogs it is nice to see the path used by so many people. The wildlife also changes when walking along the river there are rabbits and owls and a few birds of prey but I would be guessing as to what they are. As we walked along the River Trent it was nice to see the Swans on the river, today I counted thirteen from Beeston weir down to Clifton Bridge. Once at Clifton Bridge the walk along the river bank ceases and for about two miles we walk along the main road until we arrive back at the park estate and eventually home where the dogs flop down on their beds exhausted and I have a nice cup of tea. But one thing is for sure we are all both the dogs and I are very contented.


Preparing My Hanging Baskets

With my busy work schedule it has been a pleasure to prepare all my hanging baskets a little bit earlier this year, mainly due to the mild weather we are experiencing at the minute. And before you all scream at me, I know that we are still not safe from the frost and to put your minds at rest, at night they are all moved in to the greenhouse for protection….. Phew I hear you all saying. Because of time constraints I have purchased all my flowers this year from a well known shopping channel and this year all the plants I have purchased are plug plants and appear to be great value for money as you are purchasing flowers that have not been grown on – well that’s what the shopping channel are telling me!

So what did I buy I hear you ask, well there are the usual Pansies, Petunia, Lobelia and Fuschia but I have also bought a few things that I have never had before firstly there are the Begonias, I bought these because I have an area in my garden that gets very little sun and these plants are supposed to grow anywhere and will add a little colour and vibrancy to an otherwise dour area, I have also purchased a Fuschia that is different to other Fuschias as it has berries on that are supposed to be edible – I will let you know later in the season whether I’m successful and what they taste like. And lastly I have got a plant that I’ve never heard of called a Trailing Lofos which is a beautiful Burgundy Red that is supposed to trail to a length of 1.2 metres.

Many thanks to my beautiful grand- daughter Casey for all the help with the planting, it was truly a great day and it is also nice to see the younger generation taking an interest, lets hope she enjoys the digging as much… I think I may be on my own with that.


Myths About Dogs

There are lots of things that we think we know about dogs but there are also times when we have been given the wrong information so here are a few Myths about dogs that are actually just that.

1. Dogs can only see in Black and White:- Dogs actually see the environment in three colours, yellow, grey and Blue. If a dog is given something that is Red or Green they will see these colours as a shade of Grey.2. If I get a puppy I can mould it into the perfect dog:- If this was the case all our children would be perfect too. How many kids are well raised, they learn good manners and get good grades at school but then go off the rails? Perfect parenting doesn’t mean that a child will not become a crook of some sort. The same applies to dogs, Perfect parenting doesn’t guarantee perfect dogs.

3. If a dog is wagging it’s tail it is Happy:- Tail wagging does express a strong emotion, similar to a human smiling. However just like a human smile a dogs wagging tail does not always mean happiness or something positive. Dogs often wag their tails when they are agitated ,irritated, anxious, frightened or aggressive. It has been found that tail wagging is reserved for when a dog is in the company of others.

4. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks :- You can teach an old dog new tricks, dogs can learn as long as it is within their physical capabilities right up until they sadly pass away. What is more important is that dogs need stimulation just like we do and with patience and kindness owners can teach their old dogs new tricks as long as the dog is bright, alert and responsive.

There are many more Myths about dogs and I am sure that you will have come across some too, so why not share them with me. I look forward to hearing from you all, Once again I wish you all the best and thank you for taking the time to read this article

The European Decision In or Out

Do we stay in the EU or do we leave that is the question that everyone is asking at the minute and it appears that opinions are divided. I myself have not decided which way to vote but I have been reading articles on the internet and listening to debates on the television in an effort to come to a decision, below are a few reasons for both staying in or leaving the EU.Pro Europe.

1. Jobs, it is said that approximately 1 in 10 jobs is directly linked to Britain’s membership of the EU.

2. 74% of British exporters operate in other EU markets.

3. Through agreements with the EU we have a cleaner environment as national governments have worked to improve the quality of Air, Rivers and Beaches.

The EU has brought in the discrimination acts against age, race and sexual orientation. This benefits Britain and also British citizens who live in another EU country.

Reasons For Leaving

1. The EU Commission has the monopoly of proposing all EU legislation, it also has the power to issue regulations which are binding in all member states.

2. European supporters claim that 3 million jobs depend on the EU but have not provided any evidence to support this claim.

3. Many Euro sceptics look to Norway as a country that trades with the EU without actually being in it. Norway also controls its own agriculture and their fishing fleet are not bound by EU quotas, thus keeping all they catch.

4. Britain would save a large amount of money, at present it is alleged that Britain pays the EU £55 million per day. Analysis by Full Fact estimates the figure to be closer to £24 million when rebates and other receipts are taken into account.

As I said at the Beginning of this blog I have not made a decision either way and I would not try to persuade anyone either way but I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Once again may I thank you for taking the time to read this, have a great day wherever you are.

Watch-outs when buying a Spade

Firstly there is the trusted spade as we will all at sometime be turning over the soil or digging a hole to plant those newly purchased plants/young trees or bushes, so it is important to buy something that is not only practical but is also comfortable to use, so before you purchase test it out by imitating the actions that you would if you were using it in your garden – you may get a few strange looks and maybe comments but better to have the looks and comments rather than a bad back or blistered hands because you didn’t test it and it was either too heavy, too long or short or the handle was not suitable for you. I personally look for tools that have the D shaped handle as I find these the most comfortable to the hands. I also look for tools with wood or coated metal handles – although my first option would always be the wood – mainly because these are generally very strong without being too heavy. I personally look to buy something with either a Hickory or Ash handle as these are the two most durable woods. Avoid purchasing something where the handle has been painted as you don’t know what the paint is concealing and also avoid Douglas Fir as you generally find that the tool is normally of a lesser quality. Always check to see what the Manufacturer claims about the quality, normally the following words are a sign that the tools are well made, “single forged”, “solid socket”, “stainless steel”, “epoxy coated”, “tempered” or “carbon steel”When you have finished using your tools you should always clean and store them away correctly, I myself keep all my long handled tools hung neatly on a peg rack, I have found that this protects the edges from becoming dull, it also serves another purpose as I always know where to look when it is needed. 

Where to Get Free Stuff

There are a great many places that you can source an item that you need without having to pay through the nose for it and you may even be surprised to find that one man’s junk is another mans treasure. I was recently reading through the ads of my local free paper and stumbled upon someone giving away three different sizes of jiffy bags, bubble wrap and packaging, as I had just started an engraving business and will be sending goods out via the post all three items were essentials so I rang the telephone number on the advert and was pleasantly surprised to be told that everything was unused and still boxed and if I wanted it I should go around and collect it immediately. In addition to the local papers another great source for free goods is the internet this option broadens the search area and it also gives a greater variety of goods ranging from buttons to three piece suites and a lot more besides, I have also found it to be a great way to get rid of all that clutter you have collected over the years, I cannot speak for anyone else but personally when I give something away rather than selling it on I get a lot of satisfaction. Another great source in my local area is the local post office, the post master has put a notice board up for the locals to put their adverts on it’s a great way to recycle within the community. So next time you want something before you go out and buy it try your luck on one of the free sites and you may get more than you bargained for and you will certainly meet some very kind and generous individuals. ..

Once again may I thank you all for taking the time to read this, and have a great day.


Manage your Time Efficiently

Firstly to successfully manage our time we have to be organised in both our personal and also professional life. Not all of us – I include myself in this category – currently have sufficient skills to organise tasks efficiently but before we can do this we need to manage our time first.

Make a list of what you need to do and keep it up to date, on the list you need to include both urgent and none urgent things, this will help you to remember things in the future that you may otherwise have forgot or dismissed as trivial, When you have made your list put an estimated time and date for completion against each action – this is something that I have now started to do and I have found that while I have a spare minute I have managed to find information on the internet that would enable me to finish one of my tasks. Try to be sensible when setting the times and try to meet them, this will take the pressure and stress away by ensuring that nothing is left until the last minute and then realising that you haven’t given yourself enough time to complete everything. Set out and follow an action plan. I find that that sometimes the only way that I am going to get something done especially when working at home is if I am in a room by myself so there are no distractions. If you are like me and you realise it then please act accordingly.

To manage your time efficiently does not always relate to work you should also schedule in time where you have free time to relax and recharge your batteries, it is also good to give yourself a treat of some kind when you complete your tasks, this could be as simple as having a coffee break or a mini break away.

Success comes to those who know how to manage their time well.

Many thanks for reading

Your friend


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