Monday, 16 April 2018

Breathing space

Where did the last few weeks go? The Easter break seemed to fly by and I must admit it was with a heavy heart that I walked Lily to school this morning all ready for the new Summer term. Although, she's completely fine about it. She's happy to stay home, but just as happy to be returning to school, so for that I am thankful. I've really enjoyed our time off together and it couldn't have come at a better time, so that we had the opportunity to get our strength back following our various illnesses.
We've been keeping busy and done lots of walking. It was lovely to be able to revisit the Coffin Route between  Grasmere and Rydal. The initial plan was to climb Helm Crag, but when the day dawned the weather was a little more unpredictable and much windier than expected, so we decided to stay on lower ground, follow the Coffin Route (Renamed the coughing route by myself for obvious reasons. Thank goodness it's cleared up now), then walk around the shores of Rydal Water and Grasmere, returning  to the car following a brief cafe stop for hot chocolate.  A gentle circular route of around six miles. There are more photographs taken on our last visit here, when the day was brighter.

The woods are always a favourite place to visit. The Wild Garlic is growing in abundance now and I am trying to decide if I should make some pesto like I did last year. I'll have to be quick if I do as the lovely new green shoots won't be around for much longer. Apparently, a stick is a necessary wood walking accessory, required for prodding, swinging and poking at streams.

We enjoyed making (and eating) these chocolate brownies. Half the brownie batter goes in the tin, the salted caramel goes in the middle, then the rest of the batter goes on top. Delicious! They taste so good with the caramel oozing out when you bite into them. I must make some more soon.

The garden has seen a bit of action and I have been adding some colour to the pots. It doesn't take much to brighten things up a little does it? Just a few new plants have made all the difference. We have also sown some vegetable seeds. I wasn't sure whether or not to bother this year, but Lily was very eager to try. So this year we have gone with lettuce, courgettes, spring onions, beetroot, a few carrots and some tomatoes. They are all planted now, so we'll see how we get on. There doesn't seem to be any signs of life yet but I have noticed some random sunflower seeds from a previous year seem to be sprouting, so I'll have to be sure to remove them from the raised bed. The strawberry plants are growing once again and as they are in a larger container this year, I'm hoping we'll get a few more fruits than the five we managed last season. I might even put out the garden furniture at the end of this week, as the weather improves.
Family life is chugging along nicely and as well as feeling much better now, I'm also going to be spending some of the next few weeks getting on with the Spring cleaning and having a good clear-out. I've already made a start on the kitchen and have decided to do it slowly, one cupboard at a time, so that it isn't so overwhelming. I've done three so far and I'm very happy with the results, it all looks so tidy! Being able to reach for something without the entire contents of the cupboard raining down on me as well is also a plus point.
Last Saturday, as the Easter holiday was coming to an end, we spent some time riding our bikes down by the sea. It was very busy - with it being a lovely day there were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine - but we had a really nice ride along the promenade. It's good to see how well Lily has improved in the last couple of weeks and she is a very confident, albeit easily distracted rider.
J. X

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Spring Sunshine

Spring finally arrived up North, except instead of with a flourish, it has shown up rather reluctantly and dragging it's heels. Still, the daffodils are out, wild garlic is sprouting in the woods, the fields are full of lambs, and yes, there has also been sunshine! There is still a chill in the air, especially early in the mornings and I have yet to put away my Winter woollies, but I am hopeful it won't be long before I do.
School finished last week, although between us, Lily and I missed most of the final week of term thanks to the flu and it has taken until now to feel anything remotely human like again. Even so, I'm still left with a dreadful cough which is showing no signs of easing, thankfully, Lily bounced back much quicker and is already her usual energetic self once again.
As you can imagine I have been left feeling like a wiped out wreck, so even more than usual it has made me feel so grateful when I have been able to get out in the sunshine. 'Clear away the germs, fresh air is good for you' I always think, yet on occasion I have really struggled, my immune system clearly having already taken a battering from the Norovirus just a few weeks ago. The warmth from the sun is just the tonic and  fortunately there is usually somewhere to sit, rest a while and enjoy the view, even swing your legs if the mood takes (and it usually does). I also couldn't help but be cheered when Lily excitedly found this heart shaped stone on the edge of the pathway.

The forecast today is for more sunshine so we are hoping to get out once again. I'm also looking forward to getting to work on the garden  which has been much neglected over the Winter months and is crying out for some TLC. In all honesty, it looks a bit of a mess, but I'm hoping a fresh coat of paint on the shed and a few new plants will help to brighten things up a bit. With being poorly last week, I missed out on a perfect opportunity to give the grass it's first cut of the season so I am hoping it will stay dry today and it might be achievable. Until recently the weather has been too chilly to think about planting seeds but looking back on the blog I noticed it was this week last year that we did some sowing. With the lovely weather we're having just now I'll have to get a move on.
J. X

Monday, 19 March 2018

Dreaming of Spring

Each morning now I wake and wonder if the day will bring a noticeable rise in temperature. It's flipping freezing! And not very Spring like. Winter, you have been wonderful, but it's time you went now. I am desperately ready to breathe in some warm, sweet air.

So far this month life has been fairly hectic. I am settling into and enjoying working once again, but because I've also been volunteering at Lily's school and doing some online training, it has been taking up quite a bit of my time and I'm struggling to find the balance between having some time out and getting all the chores done. I won't worry too much though, as if that's all I have to concern myself with then I am very blessed - the housework will always wait, but it's those moments when I sit down in an evening and realise how messy everything is that I don't like. Maybe I'll have a good clean though tomorrow.

Last week we did have a hint of some mild weather so we took ourselves out for a gentle walk. The Snowdrops are fading now and the Wild Garlic is trying it's best to make an appearance in the woods. In the sun it was pleasant enough to sit a while and take in the view. Lily, of course, had other ideas and wanted to play hide and seek! As you can see from the photograph below the hiding places were few and far between, but as big sister took charge, I could sit back, relax and enjoy watching them laugh and play, all the while  berating myself for not fetching a flask of coffee with me. 

Also, during the week I  enjoyed a proud mummy moment. Lily has learned to ride her bike! and is, quite rightly, very happy about it, smiling and giggling as she cycles along. I can now see us having many rides out this Summer. When I took this photograph she still needed a little help setting off, but now  she can do that by herself there will be no stopping her.

J. X