Monday, 18 October 2021

Hot Sweet Tea and Rest


When I took these photographs at the beginning of last week, I was blissfully happy to be out walking again. The fells are looking beautiful just now, as the rich autumn colours begin to take hold.

I was still feeling under the weather, but I always say some fresh Lakeland air will help with most ailments, and the walk itself, although scenic, was not over strenuous. On that particular day it was just what I needed.

I had been trying to take care of myself as much as possible but by Tuesday evening I was completely floored with this cold. Then two days later, very sadly, my dad passed away. 
If I am quiet here for a while, I'm sure you will understand.

J. X

Friday, 8 October 2021


Autumn days are here, and not in the way I would like. The weather has been wet and windy, the days grey and gloomy, and now I have a cold!  My shoulders ache, my throat is sore and I feel exhausted.
I am not a happy bunny. But I have been trying to look after myself by fuelling up with nourishing meals, which have included lots of veggies, homemade soups (carrot and coriander is a favourite) and my daily breakfast of porridge and compote. 

Work and school have become routine once again. This time of year can sometimes feel a little flat; the shortening of days and downturn in the weather being a far cry from a carefree summer. The heating is coming on most mornings now and I even wore gloves on my way to work one day this week. I've switched to using my brushed cotton bedding - so cosy! And I've hung up my pumpkin lights above the fireplace to give the living room a warm glow. It is still much too early for me to get excited for Christmas. (I might have begun to squirrel away a few festive items in my hard to reach cupboards.) but I am relieved that we can, at least, look forward to a more traditional celebration this year. 

Last weekend, the persistent heavy rain meant we didn't manage to get out for a walk at all, so it passed by a little too quickly for me and I felt as though I didn't have a break. It might be great for replenishing the reservoirs but I'd rather hope things will improve soon. The previous Sunday, however, we did manage a lovely hike on the fells overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake. To be honest, the initial forecast wasn't great, but although cloudy, it looked like it would stay dry for the morning at least. Hopefully, any rain would hold off until we were making our way back down the fell. 

We set off from the car park by Dodd Wood, and headed north along a pathway through the trees. The leaves are falling now and the woodland had taken on a distinct autumn hue. It was beautiful and ever so quiet in the wood. There was a strong scent of pine needles in the air, the track thickly covered with them, making it feel springy beneath our feet. But it did feel quite spooky at times - it gets very dark where the trees are more dense. 

We emerged from the trees through a wooden gate and onto the bracken covered fell side, where the clear track turned sharply and steeply to continue towards Ullock Pike, then across the ridge to Long Side and finally Carl Side. 

Occasionally we would walk through low cloud, which would then blow over to dramatically reveal the most stunning views across the Lake. We were even treated to a very fleeting view of Skiddaw summit in the opposite direction - one for another day and fairer conditions.

On reaching Carl Side, the wind had picked up, so we decided to wait until we had dropped back down again towards the forest track before eating lunch, which is one of the highlights of a walk for me. Then just as quickly as the anticipated rain had arrived, it cleared away again and we continued our descent down through the forest and back to the car, stopping off on the way to enjoy a delicious coffee at The Old Sawmill Tea room :)

J. X

Monday, 27 September 2021

Misty Mornings


As the seasons shift into autumn we have seen some beautiful mornings here. Early mists and clouded valleys dispersing to reveal bright sunshine and clear blue skies. I'm back in the swing of things at work now. Summer is definitely long gone, although it still feels very mild for the time of year. On days like this my early morning commute feels such a joy, especially when I've been greeted with views like this.

Following a busy week, I enjoyed a more relaxed weekend. We took a walk down by the fields and through the woods. The trees are beginning to shed their leaves and soon the woodland floor will be carpeted. It's coming time for me to be putting on my wellies and thicker socks once again. 

I like to think autumn calls for lots of woodland walking and some baking. Or perhaps that should read some woodland walking and lots of baking ;) And so during the week I've baked shortbread using one of my Herdy cutters and also some banana and cinnamon cake. Delicious! I've even been passed a cookie recipe which I'm really looking forward to trying, well it would be rude not to :)

Going out walking is also my way of putting off the inevitable task of clearing the garden ready for winter. It is definitely looking past it's best out there now. I've already dug out the sweet peas and sunflowers, saving some of the seeds for next season, and I have also trimmed back the Thyme, which had grown so much that it had begun to hang over onto the path. The grass will soon be getting it's final cut of the year, a job which needs to be timed carefully in order  to avoid either wet weather or early morning dew. Not that there is all that much left, since much of it has been worn away by someone playing so much swingball!
The hedge needs trimming right back and I also need to re-pot one of the apple trees, which has almost doubled in size over the summer. 

The plants in the container pond will soon need cutting back to the level of the water and I really should clear the blanket weed. I didn't expect much when I put it together earlier in the year, so it was a wonderful surprise to see a little visitor in there a short while ago. Then the wildflower bed, which has given me so much pleasure this year, will be the last thing to deal with, as there are quite a few flowers still hanging in there and attracting the pollinators.

J. X

Friday, 17 September 2021

As Summer Slips Away

I can't quite believe we're halfway through the month already. I feel as though I've spent most of my time adjusting to a new routine and getting my head around the change to my working hours. Usually, I am more than ready to get back to it once September arrives, but this year not so much :) I don't really know why this should be the case. Perhaps it is because I enjoyed such a lovely summer (all considered) and I'm reluctant to let go of it all too soon. Anyway, I am certain this will be different once the weather turns cooler and the more autumnal days are upon us. 

Just as last year's walk up Hallin Fell seemed to mark the end of our summer break, this year it was a final swim in the outdoor pool on the day it closed for the season. It won't be open now until next May, which feels like a long way off at the moment but will, no doubt, be upon us before we know it.

The freezer is now filled with blackberries and elderberries. These have been foraged from the nearby hedgerows and when I have some spare time I will be making compote, which I will enjoy spooned onto my porridge for breakfast each morning. Washing and sorting the berries can be a tedious job but they are delicious, and here they readily available for the picking. In fact, I think I might go and gather some more elderberries this weekend, so I will have enough to last me through the winter. As usual, I've also used some of the blackberries to make my Blackberry Vodka.

Last weekend we enjoyed a walk up to High Seat near Thirlmere. It was a relatively short walk so I was able to try out my new (and rather fabulous 😁) walking boots. I had expected the day to be a bit more overcast, but it turned out to be quite bright in the end. My boots, which I thought might have rubbed, were actually very comfortable. I was a bit concerned with them being brand new and I am also much more used to a lighter weight boot, that I put my trainers and some plasters in my rucksack just in case. Thankfully I didn't need either.

It was a lovely walk up through the trees and the ground wasn't anywhere near as boggy as I had been warned, although this was probably down to the long spell of dry weather we've been experiencing. From these photographs, you can easily see the low water levels in the reservoir. The air was completely still - not a breath of wind at times - so it was quite peaceful up there. We enjoyed our lunch at the summit with views towards Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite beyond, before taking in the lower summits of High Tove and Armboth Fell on our return to the car.

J. X