Latest from The sticks





Before I retired last month I went to a seminar on retirement. It was the first time I'd heard of the Grey Gap Year. "I'm assuming", said the tutor, "that like me you left school, went on to higher education and then straight into a job. I bet you'd never heard the words 'gap year'. So, now it's a "thing", why not now? The Grey Gap Year! It's becoming more popular with retirees using their tax free lump sum to travel the world while they are still fit enough to enjoy it."

It planted a seed in my head and on top of that Miriam and her mates in the Real Marigold are having fun in exciting locations, so why not me? It's very tempting, although may be not a whole year. What would we do with the dogs?  But long holidays, a Gap Quarter or a series of Gap Months? Why not?

I've taken to reading out the travel advertisements over lunch, you know, to subconsciously prepare my other half: start with something reasonable and add a bit of scope creep each time so that when I come to booking it he's already expecting it.

Transcribing my old travel diaries is helping me to relive some earlier adventures (and misadventures). It might be nice to go back with more time and at a slower pace to see how much, if any, places have changed although I think Syria would be an adventure too far at the moment. Besides there are plenty of places on my wish list I've never visited.

I think a few more projects will soon be added to my retirement list.




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Maps for local walks

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Selection of our walking routes on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. All accessible from convenient public car parks 

Then and now


Tracing the  history of the house from early 1800s to the present day using historical documents and idenitying people who lived here before us


William Deakin restored

15 years of family history research available in our webtrees database (over 800 surnames and nearly 5000 individuals) plus a collection of birth, marriage and death certificates.  

Popular series



Transcription of travel diaries made during the last 36 years starting with India and Nepal 1981 and including USA 1983, Syria 1993, South America 2000 and South Africa 2014 together with photographs. This is a work in progress as the diaries are transcribed, so check for updates.

Route to the Soul

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Began as a romantic mixture of emotion and practical tips from two young students discovering themselves and life as they recounted their adventures away from home. The Student and her boyfriend shared their passion for each other, travel and their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Now the blog is maintained by the Student who studies and works part time on-line while she and her boyfriend continue their travels to explore the world. Her blog focuses on wellbeing and politics affecting the state of the planet & the lives of its inhabitants.

Seeds & Weeds

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We weren't gardeners, we don't even listen to Gardeners' Question Time very often, but we have a large garden with plenty of potential and since I retired at the end of 2017 we have become amateur gardners. We favour the wild, natural look and like the birds, butterflies, frogs and other small animals but we want it to be looked after and we have recently revived and extended our vegetable patch. This section is dedicated to reluctant gardeners in constant fight against the weeds - solidarity among the nettled and scratched - the caterpillars, slugs, snails and multitudes of insects.

Rooted to the Spot

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Magazine style section with articles about life at the Sticks on a theme inspired by Brexit