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Thank you for visiting my blog and allowing me to share my thoughts and pictures with you. You will find entries on a number of topics, including sewing and cooking and life in general. I have also attempted to create some useful resources in the form of recipes and sewing tutorials.

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  1. Readers of this blog will know that recently I went on a ghosthunt in Nottingham that turned this sceptic a lot less sceptical. This previous post can be found here. It was a very 'active' night and I was dying (geddit ?) to go on another one and this time take long suffering Mr Stickytarts, who wasn't particularly convinced by my account of this night, along. He even bragged - and it turned out not to be bragging, although I scoffed at the time - that he would happily do lone vigils, be volunteered for things, etc.. So last night, having handed care of Sticky offspring to some very nice friends who had volunteered to hold their own baby sitting vigil at our house, we headed off to Warwick castle. An impressive building in the daytime, but even more so at night. Especially when you are allowed to drive almost right up to the castle in the dark, your way illuminated by lanterns along the way. Add to this the elicit thrill of being specifically told to ignore No Entry signs and park in the disabled bays, and you know you are in for a good night !


    I won't bore you with the details of how Haunted Happening events are organised as you can read about this on my previous blog on the Nottingham 3 locations experience. I'll just say one thing, the catering was let down by a distinct lack of jaffa cakes.

    As this was an eight hour event taking in lots of different locations, some repeatedly, I will not be giving a chronological account of events, but instead concentrating on amalgamating what happened in each of the places that seemed to be 'active'. What is worth noting, however, is that unless you hire the castle privately you will never get the opportunity to explore the castle in the way we did, with no crowds and no distraction. To this end events like this are worth it just for that.


    The music room 

    When we first visited this room we sat on the carpet and held a vigil. Dave our guide had brought a ghost box and the first thing that we seemed to receive on setlling in was " Hello David". Further seeming communications included more "Hellos" and the apparent spirit giving us their name as Alex or Alice. Later in a bigger group, the voices seemed to dislike one particular gentleman who was described as "nobhead". It also seemed to rather like me saying "you" and "stop" as David was walking round the group asking the voice to tell him which person to stop in front of. Mr Stickytarts, my live in Physicist, observed that the voice would only occur at a certain frequency and gave me quite a long explanation debunking the ghost box, involving talk of medium waves, sweeps and coincidence. If you would like to make up your mind for yourself, this link is a useful resource.

    Distinctly odder and less explainable was the very strong smell of Jasmine which seemed to move around the room in our small vigil, and wasn't detected by the larger group later. It was so distinct, we later got on our hands and knees to smell the carpet ( yes really ), smelled the mannequins and searched the room for air fresheners, but found nothing. We later briefly encountered the smell again in the Kingmaker experience.

    Witches Room (dungeons) designed as part of a scary ghost house kind of experience during the daytime, at first this room seemed quite innocuous. Carolyn, the medium, stated that she could feel a quite malevolent man in the corridor outside the room and asked for a volunteer to stand in the corridor. Mr Stickytarts, to his credit, did as he said he would and when I volunteered him disappeared off to the corridor. Whilst there he experienced an intense unexplained pain in his knee and leg, after the spirit on being challenged claimed that he would "burn him". The pain took some time to subside. Also, when Wayne stated that we would now be leaving the K2 meter started to react.

    Kenilworth Room - this room is not usually accessible to ghosthunters so this was a bit of a Haunted Happenings coup. This room has history, and not of a good kind. Details can be found here. First off when the lights go off this room envelopes you in darkness, like no other darkness I have ever encountered. You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. Experiences here included feelings of cramping stomachs and sickness, smells of something rotting and disinfectant and drafts. More bizarrely, whilst holding hands in a circle Mr Stickytarts and his new acquaintance Lisa felt their arms being physically moved upward. Later Lisa and her husband Tim experienced the same thing until their arm was right up in the air, and they were then pushed over ! All three later reported that their shoulders and arms ached as though they had muscle strain.

    'Bear baiting' Tower - Lisa and I undertook a lone vigil here, and Lisa felt herself being physically turned around. On taking pictures of Lisa, as the camera light came on to enable it to focus in the dark, we caught seeming 'orbs' before the picture was taken. I admit these could well have been dust, but this doesn't explain the darting lights as it is the middle of Winter now and there should be no insects around. Anyway, I decided to take some video footage and here is the result. Of particular interest is just as I pan past Lisa's head - I'd be interested to see what people think.

    The boys later went in and did their own vigil, and came out saying they too had experienced something. They wouldn't tell us what exactly as they wanted to try debunking it later. As it turned out they had seen flashing lights in the corner of the room and later experiments seemed to show that these could not have been caused by light ingress. However, Mr Stickytarts ( Physicist remember ! ) is working on a theory involving luminescence from possible quartz in the room.

    Kingmaker experience - I am going to concentrate on the experience that a group of four of us, plus Paul the guide, had here. A seemingly 'ordinary' glass sliding session, which brought us the apparent spirit of a woman who had died in the C15th by her own hand, took a turn for the stranger when I left the table and sat with Paul. The others were still working the table, until Tim pointed out that he could see lights between myself and Paul, which turned out to be the K2 meter in my bag going crazy. Paul's K2 was going off too. At this point Mr Stickytarts also felt a hand on his bum gently pushing him aside.........

    AND FINALLY - mirror scrying, an event not a location. This was perhaps the most bizarre thing that happened during the night. This basically involves a victim willing volunteer sitting in front of a mirror with minimal lighting on their face and asking spirit to change their features in the mirror image. I will only describe one of the attempts at scrying here.  Mr Stickytarts face seemed to start ageing almost immediately, with a receding hairline becoming evident, a moustache and goatee appearing, his face becoming thinner, etc. Imagine our surprise when Wayne told us that other groups had experienced it too and then showed us a portrait hanging high up on the wall that resembled the gentleman we had seen. I think I have identified this man as George Cornwallis-West, please see below. I can only publish the image of him as a younger man, as the version of him as an older man is copyrighted by the National Portrait Gallery. You can follow this link to see for yourself though.  If you were part of the other groups it would be great if you could leave a comment if this is what you saw too !


    And that as they say, is it ! I would once again like to say thanks to the Haunted Happenings team, who were friendly, professional and well organised and also to Lisa and Tim who ended up making up a little group with Mr & Mrs Stickytarts and were full of enthusiasm and energy throughout. We shall forget about Tim having a little nap in the last vigil of the night in the chapel, as at that point we were all really really tired.

  2. ooey gooey choc brownie

    I made myself a promise this Christmas that we would cut back on food waste as much as possible. Having been quite successful in this over the years, I was determined to make use of every last scrap. Today I was faced with finding something to do with 3 overripe, going brown bananas. Now I know that some people like to eat them like that, but in our house nobody does.

    With the overindulgence of Christmas I didn't really want to make anything too calorific, so I came up with my healthy(ish) low fat take on the chocolate brownie. Here is the finished product ! Apologies for the quality of the picture but I only had my phone to hand.


    • 5tbsp cocoa
    • 1tbsp caster sugar
    • 5tbsp skimmed milk or 4tbsp skimmed milk & 1tbsp rum
    • 3 overripe small or 2 overripe large bananas - mashed
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 3/4 cups wholemeal plain flour
    • 2/3 cups oatmeal or oats which you have 'pulverised' in food processor
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder


    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, or 160 if fan assisted.
    2. Grease 8" square cake tin.
    3. Mix together thoroughly cocoa, caster sugar and milk/rum.
    4. Beat eggs until frothy, mix in cocoa mixture.
    5. Add bananas, brown sugar and vanilla, mix well.
    6. Fold in flour, baking powder and oatmeal gently, until a few specs are still visible.
    7. Pour into cake tin.
    8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean (unless you hit a banana in which case it will still look gooey). Cool for about 10 minutes and then cut into squares. ENJOY !