stegzy – I think this Tshirt has shrunk in the wash
Wife – I don’t. I think its because you have grown a belly
stegzyRemembering the previous weeks of takeaways Hmmm you may have a point.

I have become rotund. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’ve put on a bit of weight over the past month. I put this down to my propensity for salt and pepper spare ribs and to the fact I’m frequently not arsed to cook lately. I love cooking but lately I just can’t be arsed. Recent trips to the shops, mostly the supermarket (yeah yeah I know) as I am being too lazy to trawl the market, have been uninspiring. This week, with finances looking like a steaming pile of plop, my meals have mostly consisted of what lucybutler and aladdin_saneUncle Monty might call “Caravan Food”. Last night I had left over salad (salad made with the brown slightly on the turn salad vegetables in the fridge), the night before I had cold roasted sausage and frozen left over home made curry. These culinary morsels have been complimented with apples and the occasional morish orange. So my diet is a bit cack. I’m wondering if the belly is actually the first sign of malnutrition. Probably not though.

I’ve been thinking about the weekend and what activity I might get involved in. Money is tight (I really could do with a job) so voyages to the bottom of the county are not an option. Trips to the local surroundings are. Saturday is RMerry’s birthday. She is having a party at Elsecar heritage centre. Yes that’s right. Elsecar heritage centre. Which has a minor selection of heritage activities to participate in. Unless you count a giant kiddies fun factory type thing as heritage. So I might take the opportunity to sneak off and do a bit of geocaching.


A Day Out in West Yorkshire

I apologise about the quality. I’m still getting to grips with my new camera phone.

Emley Moor mast


Emley Moor Mast
It’s like a giant willy! Piercing the sky, broadcasting it’s signal far and wide
The Bottom

View! View! Look how far you can see!

This is Yorkshire. Thirty years ago all that would have been coal mines

Gnomepants Manor. Yeah right! I wish

There is something sexual about canal boats entering a tunnel.

Here there be trains

In Yorkshire, even the sheep are made of steel.

All high streets in England look like this. Honest.

Essential for making a good rissoto.


So I said to GtHD “This year, we will be exploring the Lincolnshire Coast”
To which he replied “Oh you’ll have a great time. I went t’ Skegness at Easter”
“What’s it like?” I asked, expectantly
“Typical seaside resort” he replied “All that coast is great”
“I’ve always imagined Skegness to be like Blackpool
“Oh no it’s not as bad as Blackpool” he assured “Mablethorpe is nice too, it’s a bit ‘old pensioner’ is Mablethorpe, but it’s reet nice you’ll have a grand time”

So on that reccomendation, Tuesday morning after completing a few errands, the wife and I packed the car with the camping stuff and shuttled off down the A631 to the east coast. The journey was pleasant enough, sweeping landscape of crop laden fields, the hilliness of South Yorkshire giving way to the flatness of Lincolnshire. The straight straight roads littered with signage warning motorcyclists to kill their speed not themselves. Several hours of driving and I was in need of a break. So for lunch the wife and I stopped in Louth catching a sandwich in a local bakers shop before hitting the road once more and onward to the coast.

Saltfleet was our first stop. Now, on the map, Saltfleet looks like a relatively nice place. In between the rowdy clatter of Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe by all accounts it should have been a peaceful fishing village with old houses and interesting twisty bendy lanes. Tea and gift shops aplenty. Well….maybe anywhere else. Here on the Lincolnshire coast it just goes to prove that one can not judge a village by it’s position on the map.

It was pleasant enough. The village of Saltfleet was a good distance from the seafront. In fact a great distance. I suppose this should have been the first warning. The village had modern well kept bungalows. I couldn’t see any shops. I could see a sign, however, directing me to the sea. A 5 minute drive following this sign took us past acres upon acres of holiday site. Static caravans as far as the eye could see. “Fair enough” I thought “Maybe the action is just at the end of this road”.


How wrong.

The free empty and vast parking area should have given it away. The lack of amusement arcades; the dearth of demanding and hyperactive children; the lack of PEOPLE. Should maybe have given me some clue. But it wasn’t until I saw the signs warning me not to step on the sands and if I did not to touch any suspicious object that I realised Saltfleet was probably not a good place to come on holiday.

So turning round we headed south along the coast and to Mablethorpe.
Now those of you who have never been to a British Seaside resort should. No really. You should come to the UK, legally or illegally, and visit somewhere like Brighton, or Eastbourne, or Bournemouth. There in you will get an idea of how British seasides are typically laid out. Using the material availiable to me, and having never been there, I can only imagine Coney Island though as I say, I’ve never been there. Maybe even a sort of chavvy Weston-Super-Mare. Still struggling? Well ok imagine a coastal road lined with bingo halls, variety clubs, fish and chip shops, screaming little bastards, teenage mums, burly hairy tattooed vest wearing men and women, lots of old people wandering round looking at things with some faded fondness, fair grounds, gaudy illuminations, mile upon miles of caravan sites and the like. Oh and some sea, maybe a bit of sand and plenty of icecream.

Well yeah that’s the Lincolnshire coast for you.

Anyway, shocked as we were, it was too late to head to Scarborough, so we bit the bullet and headed to Skegness for our holiday. Our campsite was the lovely Sycamore Lakes (mosquitos) at £15 a night for our tent. We then despatched ourselves to the centre of Skeggy for a look round. Therein we discovered a tasty fish and chip shop and a rather splendid shop selling ice cream.

The next day involved a look round Skeggy, a trip to Gibraltar Point (a local area of beauty) and finally a drive into the market town of Boston. Our moral sapped, we agreed that on the Thursday we would head north once more and return via Cleethorpes.
OMG. Cleethorpes is positively grand and vogue compared Skeg. Sadly we could only spend a few hours there before our will to live was sapped. We then headed back to Brierley.

The end of our holiday was wrapped up nicely with a trip to Liverpool to catch up with some good friends. Theres nothing like a dose of homesickness to really top off your Barnsley Icecream.
Home now though. It’s late. Time for bed said Zebedee.


Abridged Version

Brierley -> Sheffield -> Saltfleet -> Mabelthorpe -> Chapel St Leonards -> Skegness -> Burgh le Marsh -> Boston -> Alford -> Cleethorpes -> Brierley -> Liverpool -> Brierley.

<edited 24/05/18 replaced pictures and made some  corrections here and there>


Cockleshell Bay

I do like to be beside the seaside.

I do like to be beside the sea. When walking along the promenade freezing to death in the cold sea air deafend by the incessant BOM BOM BOM BOM of the dodgems in the dodgy gyppo travelling fairground, then avoiding the dive bombing seagulls while trying not to wretch at the stench of stale piss and fish and chips.

The seaside. It’s fantastic isn’t it? So what I like to do is pretend that it is the 1950’s and the golden age of British Seaside holidays. I roll up my trouserleg, don a knotted hanky and try to imagine the hard, vomit encrusted wall is a deckchair and that there are no such things as wasps or small children.

Premature: A long post cut down so you can read the abridged version

>Ok. Maybe I was a bit angry yesterday.
Mrs Gnomepants and I did eventually get to go to farm shops as planned. But our trip to the international food store in Wakefield will have to wait now until next month.

First port of call was Broad Close Farm Shop in Silkstone. Silkstone is a fairly affluent area of Barnsley. You can tell this because there are few houses and those in the village are all nicely presented and even the village petrol station (yes it still has one) is nicely manicured.

This is the farm shop.

There were also some tasty looking rabbits.

My first worry was that because this shop had been advertising on Dearne FM that it would be overly expensive. But it was new by the looks of it. Small in layout, with only a cooked meat and uncooked meat display, a few baskets of pristine looking vegatables and some expensive looking (locally produced) oils and stuff; brands which I’ve noticed from other farmshops. There is a concern that the more successful local producers are pushing out the smaller ones before they can get a foot hold making them no better than the corporate giants. Sad thing is I see this happening more and more often and because the demand for finest finest finest foods by the middle class foodies, disillusioned with supermarkets (or just wanting to appear more ethical to the Joneses) pushes up the price of locally produced food, I think the quality and ethical standpoint suffers. But no matter.

Broad Close specialises in pork, lamb and beef and, as it happens, we came out with naught but 4 sausages. I’ll tell you about them when I eat them. Anyway, the next stop was to be the Hazelhead Hall Farm Shop in the aptly named Penistone. However just as we were heading into the foothills of the Pennines we saw a sign beckoning us to a seemingly previously unknown farmshop which specialised in fruit and veg. So we stopped off there for a nose.

In a little shed there was a vast selection of fruit and veg. Veg you’ve never even heard of. Not only that locally produced stuff was clearly labelled. We bought locally produced honey, Brussels sprouts, carrots and some free range eggs. This little farm shop didn’t do meat. But that was not to be a consequence because we spent nearly £40 on fruit and veg there which, no doubt, should last us 2 weeks.

So on to Hazelhead Hall. The approach to Hazelhead Hall was nice. A dirt track taking you past future meals (ie live pigs and free range chickens) up to the farm shop itself.

Pigs = where pork and bacon comes from

Chickens come from farms too not just Supermarkets

Hazelhead Hall looked expensive from the outside. A sign in the window announced that their coffee shop was closing for good next week. This probably means that they are going to expand. Again, a farm shop that seemingly specialises in meat. Notably beef and chicken. However there was no chicken available because there had been a run on Free range chicken since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV programmes the other week*.

We ended up spending £10 on a HUGE bag of stewing beef (which should last us the rest of the month if not longer), £4 on a really nice and tasty looking steak and a further £10 on some barn reared chicken which the butcher assured us was not intensively reared (though I do have my reservations about that statement). Either way we spent a heck of a lot of money on that

* Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey are TV Chefs here in the UK. They recently did a series of programmes about how intensively rearing chickens is really cruel and how supermarkets are tricking customers into ignorance about the cost and method of production of bargain basement chicken. It was very interesting. Indeed you should go to and teach yourself something about some of the shit the supermarket has you shovel down your throat.

When we came back from our trek across Barnsley we just put the car away when Joey texted to say her and her boyfriend, Mart, were inbound to the Three Horseshoes in Brierley. I offered to pay for a meal for the missis and we hastily headed down Church Street to join them. However there was a 40th Birthday party on in the restaurant bit so food was off (which was a pisser) but we had a nice drink and chit chat with them before going our separate ways. The wife and I returned to Gnomepants Cottage, ordered a pizza and watched a bit of Red Dragon before falling asleep (Manhunter is miles better than Red Dragon IMO)

Today we nipped down to Blythe to have lunch with Philip (formerly Philip-in-Brighton), his partner Jaq and their lovely little girl Isobella. Philip is a vegetarian so we had a veggie goulash with rice and served with “potato pancakes”. After all that roughage I’ve been making some interesting smells in my trousers this evening. But no matter. It was a delightful repast.


The story so far.

Saturday morning was spent doing the little jobs I don’t feel confident doing on my own with my dad. This included:-

  • Screwing the loose floorboard down (It started to split when I attempted it myself)
  • Affixing door furniture onto the back door

After lunch we headed over to Cawthorne. Cawthorne is a quiet little village on the outskirts of Barnsley. Its a posh place. You can tell this by the art gallery shop, the spotlessly clean gastropub and the antique shop. Mrs Gnomepants had wanted to look around the antique shop for somebody elses unwanted tat. The search went well and we obtained a bargain mahogany blanket box for £20. Not going to turn my nose up at something like that.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent walking round Cannon Hall then heading off to the , Wetherby Whaler for tea before parting company with the olds and returning home to watch some DVDs

Sunday has been active. I drove back to Cawthorne to get the blanket box then I updated my CV to show my shop and bar work experiences. This afternoon, the wife and I have been feverishly putting our DVD/VHS collection into the Void. The VHS collection has been whittled down that little bit further too. I’ve tried to just keep those films hard to come by on DVD these days. I may have to wait for the images to appear on Usenet now rather than rent n rip or buy the films.


The Gnomepants Seniors are present in Brierley this week. It’s always good to see my mum and dad. Dad likes to busy himself during the day doing odd jobs I feel are beyond my DIY capability while my mum likes to clean and spruce the house up.

Yesterday, with the help of Dad, I managed to finally replace the rotten wood on the garage which I’d struggled to do two months previous. It looks bloody good now. All that is missing is a small decorative diamond piece which is currently awaiting painting. Today he is shelving the cupboard at the top of the stairs, aka The Void (so called because it seems like you can cram more and more stuff in there and still have space for more stuff). This should help us store the millions of books, DVDs, VHS Cassettes and things the wife and I have accumulated over the years and goodness me, there is a lot of stuff.

As a treat, I walked the old folks up to the Burnt Wood Court Hotel for a pint in the Owl Bar. There was once a time when you could go into a pub and be spoiled for choice at the variety of beers, ales and drinks available. However, as is becoming more and more typical in some British pubs, the Owl had the typical Brass T selection of John Smiths Smooth, Fosters, Stella and Guinness. It was, as expected, surprisingly empty, but there were menus on the tables for us to muse over. The bar food there looks quite good but I suspect they are all typically microwaved meals to match the bland flavourless beers they sell.

Eventually the discussion turned to and fish and chips. Sadly our local chippy, Shafton Two Gates, changed hands earlier this year and the quality of fish and chips there has suffered. I suspect this is down to the use of vegetable oil rather than beef fat. The batter tends to be a bit naff and the chips are hard and not nice. So as a treat, tomorrow we are taking a journey to the Wetherby Whaler in Wakefield. Having been living the “I’ve got no money” life in preparation for the next three years this will most certainly be a treat and possibly one of the last meals out until I get a job.

Just over 5 working days to go until I leave work.


Friday Night

Friday night took a surprising turn. Jill, the wife’s-ex-bosses-wife called to offer us 2 tickets to see Toby Foster ( from Phoenix Nights) and some other stand up comedians at the Comedy club in Sheffield. So, without having anything to eat we jumped into the car and headed through the rain to the one way roadwork system that is Sheffield.

Sheffield is where the British Empire made knives and forks. Without knives or forks most of the colonials would be still eating with their fingers (a practice they still insist on doing in Kentucky I believe). Nowadays it is a maze and warren of closed streets, one way systems, tram only roads and rain. This maybe to stop the invading armies from finding the cutlery factories and bringing the New British Empire to its knees. Well I got news for you mate, we’ve cunningly moved them to Korea so that’s going to thwart your plans isn’t it?

Anyway, I’d not been to a comedy club in a while. The last one I went to was in the now boarded up Nelson Mandela Building which was the student union of Sheffield Hallam University. That was in 1992. Times and Sheffield have changed. So, it seems, has stand up comedy.

The first two acts consisted of both comedians (Toby Foster and some Irish bloke with a beard) insulting or ridiculing members of the audience. Not my idea of comedy. The third act was trying to use IT humor which, as you know, is only funny if the person understands the story behind the gag. So we left. Midway through the third act we got up and left. Not only were the acts crap but the drinks were extortionately overpriced, the food was junk and there were too many intervals. I’ve never walked out of a place in my life. Normally I’m too tight to do that and want to get my moneys worth. But this was one of those occasions. We also made a quick get away because the parking was limited to 2hrs. But there you go….