Sunday, 16 June 2019

I Love to Go a Wandering....

Between Monday and Friday each week my days are fairly predictable. I get up as soon as my alarm goes off, or when Lily wakes, whichever is earlier (usually Lily!). Then there is the usual hurried morning routine of breakfast, making Lily's lunch, and getting washed, dressed and out of the house in time for work and school.
At the weekend we try and do things a little differently. Although I don't bother setting the alarm, we are still usually awake bright and early, especially at this time of year with the lighter mornings. I don't mind as it gives us a head start. We enjoy a slightly more relaxed breakfast, I make up a lunch, then we get washed and dressed and out of the house, but this time for an adventure.
We are very fortunate in that there are so many great places available to explore right on our doorstep, and we like to make the most of this whenever we have the opportunity. Recently, however, we haven't really spent any time on the fells. In fact, I think the last one we climbed was Silver How back in January, so I'm hoping an improvement in the weather will see us getting out walking more often. Therefore, in a bid to ease ourselves in gently, last weekend I suggested a climb up Helm Crag. Helm Crag is one of the lower fells, just north of Grasmere, which is easily accessible and a reasonably short walk.

The pathway was quite steep in places, but there were plenty of opportunities to stop, catch our breath and admire the view. For the most part the weather was overcast, yet bright, although as you can see from the first photograph, there was a brief glimpse of blue sky. The track was lined with bracken and so many pink foxgloves which are in flower at the moment or, as Lily likes to call them, foxy gloves! Occasionally we would catch sight of some of the many sheep in amongst the bracken and we could clearly hear a  woodpecker somewhere in the trees down below us.
It was quite windy on the summit, so we didn't hang around too long and, after a quick scramble onto the Lion rock - the highest point - we instead chose to eat our picnic lunch on our descent to Far Easedale.

Before long we were back down in the valley making our return to the village, where we always make time for a visit to the park and a game of Poohsticks at the river. Also, I might just have bought some Grasmere Gingerbread as a treat for that evening. It was delicious. 😊

Although this weekend the weather has been very mixed, I was determined to get out and gather some elderflowers for this year's cordial making (recipe on sidebar), before I left it too late. Fortunately I timed it just right, as there is an abundance of delightfully fragranced flowers lining the hedgerows right now and, along with  a quiet walk through the woods and fields, it was a lovely way of spending our morning. And it was so quiet. I'm sure we had the whole woods to ourselves. We saw rabbits, squirrels and all kinds of mini beasts and flowers. Lily has a fascination with  all of these, especially at the moment, as we are participating in the Wildlife Trust's '30 Days Wild' nature challenge, which I will share more of later in the month.
In the meantime, if we could just have some sunny weather.....
J. X

Thursday, 6 June 2019


Our half-term week went by quickly but gave us a great opportunity to relax and unwind.
While much of the country was enjoying glorious sunshine and high temperatures, here in the North it has mainly been grey and damp. It was a different story by the coast, however, and so that is where we headed. A picnic packed, we took a short drive and were soon greeted with blue sky and a seemingly never-ending stretch of sand. The tide was out, there was a stiff breeze and we were glad of our jackets as we ambled along the shore by the waters edge. Walking across the beach instead of the pebbles felt much easier on our legs, as we weaved our way around the small channels of water, trying to avoid getting our feet wet.

We picnicked in a sheltered spot among the dunes and, of course, our visit would not have been complete without some scrambling. The sand was so soft that at times it seemed almost impossible to reach the top. It was exhausting but such good fun, and we managed to get sand everywhere! The views were worth it though. This is looking inland, across the nature reserve and you can clearly see where the cloud cover begins.

From midweek, the wet weather saw us entertaining ourselves at home. We've been reading, colouring and teaching ourselves how to play UNO. I even retrieved the Nintendo Wii from the dark depths of the TV unit. I'd forgotten how much fun it could be to play ten pin bowling in the living room, although it would appear that Lily is a complete natural and I don't stand any chance of winning!
We're back at school again now and the countdown to our summer break has begun. These next few weeks are going to be very busy as I hope to get my studying out of the way in time for summer. At least then the pressure will be off and I can concentrate on enjoying some long and (hopefully) sunny days.
J. X

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Lazy Days

Although it doesn't seem any time at all since the last half-term, I was more than ready for another break from the daily grind. This week it has been wonderful to be able to press the pause button, take some time to just 'be' and, for the most part, do very little.
Copious mugs of tea coupled with unhurried mornings have been well received and the change in routine this week has seen me feeling much more relaxed, my sleep pattern greatly improved and I have made further progress in making time for myself  much more of a priority.

A lot of our time has been spent just pootling outdoors. We've walked through  fields, woodlands and down by the river. Everywhere looks so lush and green, which is quite surprising, as until the last few days, the lack of rain had caused the farm pond and stream to completely dry out. The pathways are slowly disappearing beneath borders of cow parsley and fields are golden with buttercups.
The air is heady with the scent of blossom and pollen, and the hawthorn and blackthorn have been blowing from the trees, falling upon us like snow. I've been eyeing up the hedgerows for elderflowers in anticipation of this year's cordial making. It is still quite early but I expect I will be collecting some within the next few weeks. I think I might have left it a little late last year as I only just managed to find enough, so I'm aiming to be a little better prepared this time.

We received a lovely surprise on our walk to the bird hide one morning. We needed to pass through some sheep and, much to Lily's (and my) delight, we were approached by a lamb who couldn't get enough of being stroked and petted. It followed us the rest of the way through the field to the gate at the far end and I'm sure, had we not closed it quickly enough, that it would have gladly followed us all the way home. Now, although inquisitive, lambs are generally quite skittish by nature and stay close to mum when there are people around, so we assumed this one must have been hand reared. After stroking it some more through the fence, we reluctantly continued on our way, although I have a feeling we may make a return visit before school begins again next week.
J. X