Happy New Year from David, Artie and myself. I hope your 2017 is filled with love, laughter and contentment.
Below find a short video celebrating our 2016. Thanks for sharing in our adventures!
Happy New Year from David, Artie and myself. I hope your 2017 is filled with love, laughter and contentment.
Below find a short video celebrating our 2016. Thanks for sharing in our adventures!
Since it’s December and the end of the year is fast approaching, I thought I would share with you all the blogs I have been enjoying over the past 12 months!
Sharon’s wonderful Sunshine and Celandines, has become a long standing blog which I follow. She writes about food, days out/holidays and her life with gorgeous Labrador Hugo. I have enjoyed our blogging friendship and the sharing of writing topics such as joining Wild October!
Keeping with the theme of nature. Another three blogs which I look forward to reading are:
A source of inspiration for my recently discovered ‘wild’ swims, is SwimmingTheLakes, where the author is challenging herself to swim every lake and tarn in the Lake District!
My favourite ‘go to’ website for recipes is Chungah at Damn Delicious. Her One Pan Mexican Quinoa makes a wonderful nutritious meal and the ingredients can be swapped and changed depending what’s in the store cupboard.
Classical music is another big passion in my life. I don’t know how I came about Charlotte Hoather’s blog but I enjoy reading updates on her performances and her studies.
If the London theatre scene is more your thing, then Rukaya vlogs about the many stage shows happening in London!
So there you have it, a small snapshot of some of the blogs I follow. If you have any blog suggestions then do post them in the comments below. I look forward to discovering many more fantastic blogs!
Thanks for reading,
I wasn’t going to do a Sunday Sevens (devised by Threads and bobbins), this week, but after coming home from a lovely day out to Derwentwater, the Lake District (again), I decided to make a quick post.
Let’s begin with a Great British obsession, the weather. Once again it has been glorious this week in the NW of England. I have spent many afternoons doing a bit of sunbathing. I noticed that I have many allium bulbs growing this year, (left) is just one flowering.
I managed to finish Dan Brown’s Inferno. It wasn’t his best novel. I felt at times he broke the narrative to give the reader a history lesson or lecture. It did however make me think of past holidays to Florence, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey.
On Wednesday, David and I visited his brother, sister-in-law and nephew for a curry night. I forgot to take a picture but did take one of my curried red lentils which I made for lunch.
The recipe is as follows for 3 people:
This week saw the return of the second series of The Hollow Crown. I am enjoying the BBC’s lush productions of the Shakespeare history plays.
Also this week we have been worried about the family dog, Riley. He was subjected to a three hour ordeal last Sunday, of hair cut and bath. It seems that he was not happy with the service, as all week he has been quiet, not his normal ‘mad’ self and been rather listless. We all thought he was ill, but he has bucked up and now seems more like his normal self. Animals do make us worry so!
My last picture comes from today, taken while walking towards Catbells, overlooking the enchanting Derwentwater. I have simply fallen in love with this lake and the area. Look out for a following post on the day’s adventures!
How have you spent your weekend? Been on any nice country walks recently?
Have a nice week ahead,
I find it difficult to enjoy nature while I am out and about going to work. However today I snapped a picture of a flower that was gracing the gates of my employment. I did a quick Google search and found that it was a Rosa canina, or Dog Rose which is a deciduous shrub.
Though not nature orientated, I woke up this morning to the sad news that composer James Horner had died in an aeronautics accident. I admired Horner’s music well before Hans Zimmer’s. My first CD of his, was his stunning American Civil War soundtrack to the film Glory!
The weather turned out to be half decent today. In the afternoon I managed to sit out and potter about my garden. The Passion Flower has grown ‘madly’ again and has hundreds (maybe an exaggeration) of buds on it! There are also purple flowers on the Hebe!
I decided to follow a suggestion from the 101 ‘wild’ things to do which was to watch a nature webcam. Years ago I used to visit a websi from a farm in Yorkshire, called Marlfield. The website is called Lambwatch. (It’s best viewed on IE.) I checked it out today and found that they not only have one webcam pointed at a field, which during spring is filled with lambs, but have three others! One of which was a webcam in a Swallows nest. Knowing I love Swallows I spent a good hour watching the brood of about 4 growing baby Swallows.
I wonder if the visiting Swallows near me will also be feeding a brood of similar size? I shall have to wait until they fledge, it was mind July last year! I shall keep my eyes towards the sky!
Thursday: – Norwich… ‘a fine city!’ (Indeed!)
Thursday was the beginning of our night away to Norwich to see the Go Go Dragons street art exhibition! Mum kindly looked after Artie while we were gone the night.
It was not the first time we have gone on a hunt for dragons. The first was in 2010 in Newport!
We set off on the M62 around 9am. I didn’t see much nature along the motorways, save for a few silhouettes of Buzzards and Kestrels hunting and along the A11 there was a field full of purple and white foxgloves!
We got to Norwich by 1.30pm and spent the next two hours walking around the city streets. The weather was very humid and come the evening the sun shone through heavy laden clouds.
We first visited Norwich two years ago when we popped in, on our way to Colchester, to see their Go Go Gorillas trail.
I was impressed by the artistic talent, so much so that come news that dragons were going to grace the city’s streets I had to pay them a visit!
The dragons I think even surpassed the gorillas! Here are just a few from the first day!
With tired feet we made our way to the B&B for the night. We stayed at the same B&B, 175 Newmarket Road, and incidentally the same room as two years ago!
For the evening’s meal we went to The Merchant’s of Spice, curry house north of the River Wensum. David ordered Chicken Tikka Pasanda, which was flavoursome while I had the Vegetable Karahi which was filled with peppers, green beans and new potatoes. The naan was nice though was drizzled with a lot of butter! The atmosphere of the restaurant was luxurious and the ambient music was not overpowering. The service was efficient and they cleaned unused plates and cutlery swiftly. At the end of the meal we were once again handed orange soaked hot towels to wipe our hands, always a plus in my book! 😀
We had breakfast early on Friday so we could leave the B&B and head into Norwich before 9am! While we were packing I noticed a colourful Jay amongst the tree canopy around the house. It moved too quickly for me to get a picture so one of David’s taken on a day trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park will have to do!
I must comment that Norwich has fully embraced planting for wildlife and on most of their roundabouts and along the sides of dual carriageways there is an abundance of wild flowers!
We spent the next four hours walking the city’s streets with map in hand! The positive of following a trail map is that you get to see parts of the city you wouldn’t necessarily see! There are some lovely churches and narrow tudor-esque streets in Norwich. However the north of the city is a bit derelict, like many towns. We found ourselves in a part of the city that was covered in graffiti! We did not feel safe! So we hurried back south towards the river.
We saw 31 dragons on the Thursday and the Friday we saw a total of 32! So we saw 63 out of the 84 dragons on the streets, though we did see several more but could not take photos!
Here are some of my favourite dragons from Friday’s hunt!
Even though we never got to see the whole 84 dragons, I found following the trail map more satisfying than going to see them all in one place which we did last year when we went to Aberdeen to see ‘all’ the dolphins!
Here’s a selection of some of the art work found on the dragons and of David and myself posing with our favourites! 😀
After lunch at around 1.30pm we said goodbye to Norwich and set off on our journey home, and what a ‘long’ journey home it turned out to be! Instead of the 4.5 hours it should have took us, our journey lasted over 7 hours! Arriving home around 9pm!
There was news of the M6 being shut around junction 16 and then the A14 was at a snails pace. There was nothing to do but to try and stay cheery, listen to the radio and try to keep hydrated and well fed. We took regular breaks. We tried to get the sat-nav to navigate around the blocked part of the M6 but it wanted us to go further afield into Wales, so we decided to see what was in store for us on the motorway!
We paid the £5.50 to go on the M6 toll and the first junction was at a stand still. I thought that it was a waste of money but once we past the first junction it was smooth travelling until the M6 toll merged into the M6. Then the travelling was in fits and starts, so much so that I got a migraine with the stress. I thought we would never get home and my phone decided to die! We stopped off at Keele Services and had a fast food dinner! It was not what I had planned. I had planned something more healthy, after the curry the night before, but there was nothing to be done. So a Burger King it was. I had a vegi wrap while David had a chicken sandwich and chips. I also had a Costa coffee which, with the Zomig I had taken, helped ease the migraine!
For the next two hours, though fuelled, we continued on our slow journey home. To break the monotony David said I should take some pictures of the Cheshire countryside.
On our arrival home, we were welcomed by a familiar sight. Artie looking out of the window at us!
Back home to ‘normality!’ I found that the Passion Flower had started to bloom! There was one sitting proud for all to see! I look forward to many more budding!
For Saturday’s dinner I made a healthy Roasted Pepper and Bean soup.
I served the soup with Wholemeal granary bread that I had made and David had shaped into dogs!
I spent today’s lunch with our finches. We let them fly around the living room at weekends. Here’s a selfie I took with Chocolate our Bengalese Finch, she was getting very close to me!
More webcams! This time from Paradise Park in Cornwall. They are streaming a webcam from their Red Panda den. Their female panda has had cubs. You can view the webcam here: http://paradisepark.org.uk/events-and-news/webcams/
I think I am going to have to attempt to separate the Borage seedlings either today or sometime during next week! Look how much they have grown in a month!
There are only two more day’s of June and 30 Days Wild, but I will continue to admire the nature that is around me in the coming weeks/months. Will the Borage and Teasel seedlings bloom? How many Passion Flowers will I get? Will I see any fledgling Swallows? Only time will tell!
What a beautiful weekend it has been in the NW of England!
The sun has been shining brightly for the past three days! It has been warm as well, with temperatures peaking at 21/22 degrees C. Though it has felt warmer!
Amongst popping out to sun myself, I have been doing the obvious weekend chores like visiting the supermarket and cleaning the house. On Saturday I even accompanied David to the local tip to dispose of the pile of bricks that had come from the demolished shed. They had been lying in the middle of the yard for over a year! I was glad to be rid of them! Since their departure the yard is finally looking more like a place to unwind in the summer months after a long day!
It has not just been myself enjoying the warm sunny weather, the plants in the garden have all sprouted up and the bees have loved visiting my Scabiosa and today they were seen on my Cat Mint and Honeysuckle!
Saturday, while David was busy pointing the back yard wall. I was listening to Classic FM At the Movies and cooking vegetables for our makeshift Tortilla Pizzas! Friends of ours had posted their pizzas on Facebook earlier in the week which gave me the idea for Saturday’s dinner.
Ingredients for Tortilla Pizza:
Sunday, and David got up at 8am to continue to point the back yard wall. I stayed in bed snoozing until 10am! In the afternoon, after sunning myself I prepared a very easy dish for the left over tortillas.
Ingredients for Spiced Indian Sweet Potato Wraps:
I enjoyed it, but David didn’t. I gave the rest of the meal to my mum who enjoyed it too! It was spicy but not too spicy! As you may have guessed I am in sweet potato mode of late. Hopefully this week sometime I will be able to make sweet potato and lentil soup!
Who knows what the new week will hold!
[The bedroom of number 49. Early morning sun lights the bedroom. The strain of music from Classic FM stream into the chill morning from the radio. The sunlight highlights a woman sitting at her dressing table, applying foundation to her face. A mobile phone beeps.]
Christine: Who is that?
David [lying in bed.] It’s Keith, he will be with us in ten minutes.
Christine: What time is it?
David: Just gone eight.
Christine: He said he’d be here at eight thirty. I am not ready! I will be ready for eight thirty, but not eight fifteen!
David [climbing out of bed]: I’ll tell them they can come in or wait.
[Outside, in the road, before a Citroen DS3. Keith and David pack lunch bags and a silver foiled package into the boot of the car. Christine welcome’s Bilgen and Gary. Bilgen holds the door as they all climb into the car. Christine, David (in the middle) and Gary all sit in the back seat. Keith is at the wheel.]
David: Is everyone ready?
Keith: The only postcode for the Angel I could find began with NE?
Christine: I couldn’t find one either. [The satnav calculates the route.]
Keith: It say’s we’ll be there at 11am!
Christine: Only takes two and a half hours from Liverpool.
[They set off on their journey. The M62 from Liverpool, then the M60 (around Manchester) then back onto the M62. Bilgen falls asleep. Gary tries to take her picture. Christine cheers when they get to the highest point of any UK motorway, some 372m! The roads are pleasantly quiet. David jokes to Bilgen that it is because after a certain point in England, like the film ’28 Days Later,’ parts of the North are barricaded as a hoard of zombies roam the northern wilds. They leave the M62 and join the A1 (M). Christine looks out of the window and gets excited. They are drawing near to their first destination.]
Keith: We should be getting close now.
Christine [looking at her phone]: It says after the Washington Service Station continue on the A1 (M) until the main roundabout and take the A167 turn off. The Angel site is on your left and parking available nearby. [Looking up] There she is!
[They pull into the parking bay beside the A167 and excitedly get out of the car. Christine leaves her jacket in the boot of the car, though there are rain clouds overhead. They all have cameras and mobile phones in hand as they walk the short path towards, Sir Antony Gormely’s ‘The Angel of the North.’]
Christine [taking a different path from the others.] Isn’t it wonderful! [David follows after her.]
[After a quick bite to eat in the car at the Angel car park. The five-some travel on towards Middlesbrough to visit friends Paul and Gemma. On arrival at their house, Christine hands Paul the silver foiled package.]
Christine: You asked for bread?
Paul: Thank you!
[Some four hours of chatting goes by and many pictures taken of Paul and Gemma’s King Charles Spaniels, Kash and Ruby]
Christine [to David]: What time is it?
David: Half five.
Christine: We can’t stay here all evening, it’s not fair on Paul and Gemma!
Bilgen: I’m getting hungry.
Christine: We have to go home and have dinner.
[They say their goodbyes.]
Paul: Thanks for coming.
Christine: It was nice to meet you!
Gemma: Have a safe journey home.
[In the car, they seat belt up.]
David: So what do we do next?
Christine [deflatedly]: Go home. [Cheerful.] Or go to Whitby like Gemma suggested.
Keith: We could go to Maggies?
Christine [corrects]: Magpies in Whitby. [She looks at her phone and finds the postcode for Magpies.] YO21 [Keith programmes the satnav.]
David: What happen’s if it is busy like Gemma said it would be? It being a Saturday and all!
Christine: Then we look for food elsewhere, or go hungry!
[They travel for 40 minutes, mainly in silence. Everyone is hungry and tired. Christine looks out of the window at the heathland around them.]
Bilgen [to Gary]: Do you have pain killers? I will have a headache if we do not eat soon!
David [to Christine]: What time is it?
Christine: Six o clock.
David [to Keith]: Put Classic FM on, Saturday Night at the Movies.
[Music from the film The Prestige plays. As they near Whitby they see the ruined Abbey on the headland. Christine think’s Anne Bronte is buried in St Mary’s Church, but [looking at her phone] finds it is in St Mary’s of Scarborough. They look for the Magpie Cafe and have to turn back as they travel too far. They end up parked in a makeshift car park by the harbour. Keith and Gary go to the paying machine and an Asian man hands them a ticket. They return to the car as a rain shower beings.]
Keith: The Indian man gave me a ticket. It looks like he paid for 24 hours not 4!
Christine: Did you give him any money for it?
Keith: No, he didn’t want it!
[They leave the car and walk down the main street of Whitby. They look at the harbour arched in a rainbow. They pass many groups of rowdy men and women dressed in 1950’s clothes. They take pictures of the town and on finding the Magpie Cafe. They look at the menu.]
David: Do you want to eat in our get a takeaway? It looks busy.
Christine [resigned]: I don’t mind.
David: Shall I look for the takeaway menu?
Christine [sighing to David]: I don’t mind want we do. [David and Keith walk further up the road. Christine turns to Bilgen and Gary]. He never takes me out to restaurants. I would like to go to a restaurant once in a while.
Bilgen [to Christine]: I want to go and get a table inside. I want to eat a proper meal. [Christine shrugs. David and Keith come back.]
Keith: The takeaway menu is on the other side.
Christine: I’ll do whatever you all want to do.
Bilgen: I want to go inside.
David [To Christine]: We’ll do whatever you want?
Christine [To Bilgen]: Go inside and ask if there is a table for five.
Bilgen: Come with me! [They all walk up the steps to the entrance.]
Maître d’: A table for two?
Bilgen: No five.
Maître d’: The table in the corner over there is available. [Bilgen looks around at Christine and they share a smile.]
Bilgen: A nice table. [The view is over the harbour and towards the abbey. The waitress Joanne comes and takes their order.]
Bilgen: I’ll have grilled Salmon and vegetables.
Gary: The same but no vegetables.
Keith: The Cod and Chips.
David: Grilled Salmon and chips please.
Christine: I’ll have the poached Lemon Sole and vegetables, lots of them! [They order drinks. Christine orders two small glasses of the pinot grigio, for herself and Bilgen. Gary tries to order Bilgen a lemonade. Christine corrects him and laughs with the waitress and the others.]
Christine: I’ve not ordered two glasses for myself. I’m not that bad!
[As dusk descends on the fishing village and they tuck into their food. They laugh and enjoy each other’s company.]
[After 9 pm thoroughly fuelled they head from Whitby back along the A1 (m), and M62 to Liverpool in pouring rain. The journey takes just over 2 hours. Christine enjoys listening to the 80’s songs on the radio and watches the cats eyes light their way. She marvels at the cities they pass sparkling with lights.
On disembarking Keith’s car. Christine thanks them for inviting her, she had had a nice time and gives Bilgen a hug and another silver foiled gift.]
Christine: For Jeanette. [and Christine and David wave them on their journey home!]
Christine Lucas © 2014
The date for moving into the new house has been set… I made an executive decision (as David and I were humming and aahhing for hours!), to name the date for moving in to be the 27th December 2013! I did not want the upheaval over Christmas, so I have chosen a date afterwards.
Other news: I am overjoyed to have successfully booked seats for the forthcoming ‘Twelfth Night‘ at the new Liverpool Everyman Theatre!
I managed to even get front row stalls! I was amazed as I thought that people in the city would have been snapping up the seats readily! I can’t wait to see the new theatre and this production of my favourite Shakespeare play!
Work wise: I did not find myself unemployed for long. Well it was exactly two days! I got a call not long after finishing work at the Royal Hospital from the agency informing me that my student from last year had asked if I could go back to work with her and help with her studies. So that is what I have been doing these past few weeks. There are only two weeks remaining of the University term and then I am looking forward to a nice long holiday over Christmas. A rest is much needed!
Animal matters: There have been many wild birds visiting the garden feeders as the autumn temperatures start to plummet and the dark nights draw in. There have been the usual numerous Goldfinches, Starlings and Pigeons and they have been joined by two Blue Tits and even a shy Robin! But there has been too much activity for the poor Robin to forage at his own pace! I even thought I had seen a brief visitation of the Dunnock, but I could have been mistaken!
My Border Collie Riley has been worrying me a bit today. He has seemed very quiet, has not eaten his evening meal and looks so sad. 😦 I hope he is not sickening for something? He still goes on his walks and wants to play, he just seems under the weather today. Let’s just hope it is just a phase and he is back to his wild, energetic self tomorrow!
Back to work this week from a lovely weekend away almost killed me!! Although I will get used to the early starts and long days in the office. I am just not looking forward to the dark mornings and cold days of Autumn/Winter.
This weekend is the Southport Airshow and for the past two years David and I have been attending. This year we will be there on the Saturday as I love seeing the Red Arrows and can’t wait to see the Typhoon again (it was rather thrilling last year!) and the return of my favourite plane of all, Miss Demeanour! Although it looks like the Tornadoes won’t be there this year which is a shame. I will try and get better footage than I did last year as I had the wrong setting on my camera!
|Aircraft – Saturday||Time||Duration|
|Model and light aircraft landing||10:30||60 mins|
|Red Arrows||13:00||22 mins|
|Spitfire XI||13:37||10 mins|
|Royal Navy Historic Flight Swordfish||13:49||4 mins|
|Navy Swordfish||13:54||6 mins|
|Black Cats (solo display Lynx HMA8)||14:02||8 mins|
|Red 10 & 11 – Squirrel HT1||14:10||2 mins|
|Sea King||14:35||15 mins|
|The Blades||15:02||15 mins|
|F-86 Sabre||15:19||8 mins|
|Xtreme XA41||15:29||8 mins|
|Lynx AH7||15:39||8 mins|
|Battle of Britain Memorial Flight||16:00||18 mins|
|Miss Demeanour||16:42||10 mins|