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Felt Gadget Cases

Front of a felt gadget case I've just finished
Back of the same showing the belt clip and user's initials

We’ve just received a batch of new wireless controllers for the whiteboards at work. Desperate not to lose the bits, I made myself a case to keep it hooked on a belt loop. Above is the second attempt, made for a colleage. Quite pleased with it – it’s a bit more sophisticated looking and all the flaps and the belt clip are more secure.

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Beyond the supermarket: sourcing fresh, quality food

We’re great food lovers in Dara Towers, and we’re starting to discover the delights of tracking down quality ingredients for the meals we make.

Like most people, we do most of our shopping at supermarkets – principally Sainburys and Waitrose at present – but we’re starting to investigate local, family run and speciality businesses for certain items. This is due in part to being unable to source all of the fresh food we’d like, especially with our weekly delivered shop. We also like to support local businesses in these tricky economic times and you can’t get lower food miles than something that’s produced just up the road.

For meat we’ve been trying a few butchers as an alternative to the supermarket – including the superb M Newitt in Thame, Oxfordshire, although most regularly we frequent our local butcher, Chris Blake, on Rickmansworth High Street.

Fish is a particular favourite of ours, we’ve found the choice of fresh fish to be limited when shopping online. Our local Waitrose offers a good range both at the counter and pre-packaged, however we’re still often frustrated by being unable to find the fish to fit a selected recipe. We decided to look around for a dedicated fishmonger to see if a greater selection was available.¬†Rickmansworth itself doesn’t have a fishmonger – the number of supermarkets perhaps puts pay to that – however just up the road Chorleywood’s boutique high street boasts the excellent Catch of the Day.

Catch of the Day provides brilliantly friendly service, a selection of fresh fish and sea food that’s certainly beyond that of the supermarkets and the type of personalised service we feared we’d lost from the British high street. We came away with two stunningly fresh looking tuna steaks and two mackerel, which the fishmonger duly gutted for us. Here’s the tuna looking splendid in Saturday’s dinner:

It’ll take a while to experimenting and comparing food from different sources, although that’s very much part of the fun. We’ll be sharing details of the food producers and suppliers we like on our new page simply entitled “We like…

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High Wycombe shopping

Inside the Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe
Inside the Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe

This weekend’s foray into the surrounding area was to High Wycombe, which along with Watford are the largest towns hereabouts. As with Watford our motivation for visiting High Wycombe was the shopping.

Getting to High Wycombe from Rickmansworth is straight-forward by a number of routes. We opted for what Google Maps promised was the fastest – if not the shortest – route, via Uxbridge Road, the M25 and the M40; an estimated 30 min journey. Alternatively, going via the A404 is around 5 miles shorter, if estimated to take a few minutes longer. However given the current 50 mph restriction on much of the M25 south of Ricky I suspect it’d be a much finer run thing.

The M40 is a none-too-busy and partially 4-lane affair with no complications. The only areas of trouble were the huge and complex roundabout from junction 4 of the M40 heading into Wycombe and the usual navigation around the town. It seems to be that towns of the size of Watford and Wycombe demand complicated and ill-sign-posted routes. Nevertheless the sat-nav saw us alright. Junction 4 could also be avoided by heading East out of Wycombe to junction 3.

Wycombe’s answer to the Harlequin is Eden, and it’s not a bad shopping centre. It’s not as enclosed as the Harlequin – much of it is under cover but still outside, meaning at this time of year you can stay dry but cold. It has large House of Fraser and M&S Stores, although I’m told the fine – and from this winter now famous John Lewis store – is location in an out-of-town location, to the West of the centre. Eden did provide all the shops we’d hoped for, though, and we returned home absolutely laden down with shopping – all of it clothing. Continue reading

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