Saturday, 6 August 2022

Around and About

It is a typical summer's evening here. Warm but with a gentle breeze. Looking out of the window I can see Lily happily playing swingball, while Mog is lying on the grass beside the wildflower bed, keeping a watchful eye on the bees. I have just this moment put a small bottle of rosΓ© in the fridge to enjoy later.

Today has been spent quietly at home. Since school finished, just a little over two weeks ago now, we have been comfortably filling our time with some wonderful days out, making the most of the warm sunshine and fine weather. It has been bliss. I have even managed to cross several items from my summer 'must-do' list already. Although, by the time I post this, there is the strong possibility I will have added to it again! :)

Last week, we walked via Grisedale Tarn up to Fairfield, enjoying a picnic lunch on the summit of Great Rigg, before finishing up with a refreshing paddle in Greenhead Gill. There was a slight detour at Lily's request, to sit on the high bench, on which we could sit and swing our legs.

Then a couple of days later we enjoyed a walk right around the shores of Derwentwater, again enjoying a picnic lunch and, of course, another paddle. This is a really delightful walk, with stunning scenery all the way around the lake.  Again, we made another slight detour from our planned route, this time to visit the beautiful Lodore Falls.

Earlier this week, we took an evening stroll from Elterwater into Little Langdale, across the 17th century Slater's Bridge to Cathedral Cave, which is in fact a disused slate quarry. We didn't need to take a picnic this time, but there was certainly some paddling in Great Langdale Beck.  

Then, just a couple of days ago we climbed Hartside, taking in the glorious views over Ullswater, before returning via Dowthwaite Head and through the delightful Lucy's Wood back to Dockray. The bracken so tall, it was a struggle to see the path at times. The photographs are a little blurry as it was quite a windy day.

In between our days out, we've also met up with friends and been swimming at our favourite outdoor pool. Yesterday we enjoyed a guided tour of an old mill, where I bought some spelt flour. I haven't baked bread in ages, so it should be a delicious treat.

J. X 

Monday, 1 August 2022

Sunflower Surprise 🌻

This has been the first year that I can remember in which I haven't had any success with my sunflower seeds. Naturally, I was disappointed. They are my favourite flower, after all. So, you can imagine my surprise when I looked out of the window the other day to see this beauty had appeared, in amongst all the wildflowers. I can only assume it grew from a seed which fell from the bird feeder nearby.
A happy surprise! 🌻 🌻 🌻 

J. X

Monday, 25 July 2022

All Set for Summer

School finished almost a week ago, and just over another six weeks lie ahead. It is a much welcome break, as this has been the first 'normal' school year in quite a while, and I had forgotten just how busy my days can be at times, filled with work and various other activities. Already, I have spent some mornings doing absolutely nothing, as often that is exactly what is required :)

A couple of days ago I enjoyed a thorough clear out and re-stock of my food cupboard - adding to the tinned goods and topping up the storage jars (although, I forgot to buy more red lentils!) It felt incredibly satisfying and now I can see exactly what I have in there. It isn't a huge space, so I need to utilise it wisely. And better still, I didn't need to throw away very much at all, just some out of date herbs and an almost empty bag of bread flour - I can't even remember the last time I baked bread! 

Today, I will be catching up on some housework. Not too much, just dusting, vacuuming and ironing. Then I need to sort out our rucksacks and walking gear - as you do! I can't think how much time I spend filling and emptying my trusty walking companions. Their contents dependent entirely on the weather forecast and often a lot more besides. 

Last week, we enjoyed another stay at the campsite we'd previously visited back in May. We were in a different camping field this time, but as it was nearer to the play area, Lily was more than happy with this arrangement. We went there via Appleby, and spent a lovely morning looking around the town before sitting for a while down by the river. Later, we drove to Acorn Bank, a beautiful estate owned by the National Trust. Here we enjoyed a tour of the water mill, where we could see flour being milled. Then we walked along by the river and through the woods, before enjoying our picnic lunch in the stunning gardens, overlooking the house. Sat there in the sunshine, beneath the dovecot, I could have been on holiday in France - it was so beautiful! I will definitely be making a return visit. Then, the following morning we called in at The Village Bakery in Melmerby, where I treated myself to as slice of Carrot Cake. It had been many years since I'd last enjoyed any - I used to work in a health food store where it was sold - and it was just as delicious as I remembered. Their scones were amazing as well ;)

Back at home, I finally harvested the last of our blackcurrants. Together with the ones in the freezer, which I'd already picked, I was able to make nine jars of jam. A vast improvement on the two I managed last year, and just as delicious. 

Yesterday, we braved the weather and walked from Mosedale up over Carrock Fell and then on to High Pike. A great little walk, and it felt so good to be out, but oh-my-days it was windy! I could hardly stand steady enough to take this photograph. We were buffeted by strong winds the whole way, so it felt as though we had walked far more than the six miles by the time we returned home. As is appropriate, we were fully rewarded for our efforts with a fish and chip supper. 

As for the rest of the summer break, there are some vague plans and some not so vague plans. But I think I'm all set, and whatever happens, I'm sure it will be great.  

J. X

Friday, 15 July 2022

Two Years

If you have been reading here for a while now, you might remember this post and this post in which I talked about images I captured of Lily on Latrigg, a small fell just above Keswick. This began way back in 2014 when she was just over a year old and we walked up there together (Actually, Lily was in her carrier for much of it but she still managed to walk the final stretch). Two years later, and during the same walk, I coincidentally took a photograph of her in almost the exact same spot. Since then, it has become a tradition. So every two years we walk up Latrigg and I take a photograph of Lily sat overlooking the lake. The last time was in 2020. I can't think two years have passed since then - and what a couple of years!  

Anyway, last Sunday I thought would be the perfect opportunity to take the latest photograph. It was a beautiful, bright sunny day and there would be the chance of a quiet morning, before The Lakes become overwhelmed with summer visitors. Our early start to the day, meant we could enjoy an almost deserted summit, which on Latrigg is an achievement in itself. I was able to to take the photograph, and we managed to sit for a while taking in the scenery, before more people began to arrive at the viewpoint. There may have also been chocolate :)

Just look how she's grown! It seems like no time at all since our first walk up Latrigg and I remember it well. The day was overcast but warm, and Lily was happily snacking on rice cakes (still a firm favourite), when I took the photograph. 

Heading back down the fell, we passed an increasing number of people out walking and I instantly knew our early start had been the right decision. And as we still had the rest of the morning to do as we pleased, we made our way back through Keswick and down to the lake, where we enjoyed a refreshing paddle, before eating our lunch in the shade of a large tree beside the lake shore.

Before we made our way home again, there was just one more thing I needed to do...

We took a walk through Hope Park to visit the bronze statue and bench dedicated to Max The Miracle Dog. You might remember I met Max and his owner last summer, the evening before the statue was to be unveiled. Since that night, I had always intended to go back and see it for myself, and it really is something special, although nowhere near as special as Max himself, who, very sadly, is no longer with us.

It was a lovely weekend and now I am counting down the days until our summer break. I have a some thoughts on a few things I would like to do, but my focus will be on relaxing, enjoying the unhurried mornings, and I might even pick up my crochet hook!

J. X